The Maxwell Award announced its list of 18 semifinalists on Monday, which would not normally be a noteworthy event. Except this one is, for one reason: one of the 18 was a complete unknown just one month ago.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate was included on the list after a month in which he exploded on the national scene and carried Arizona into the thick of the Pac-12 championship hunt.
The sophomore from Inglewood, Calif., completed a month in which he completed 41-of-58 passes (70.7 percent) for 743 yards (12.8 per attempt) with six touchdowns against three interceptions while rushing 59 times for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. Arizona went 4-0 in the month of October, averaging 48.8 points per game in the process.
The Wildcats are now ranked fifth nationally in rushing at 338.6 yards per game and second with 7.20 yards per carry — despite Tate playing sparingly in Arizona’s first two games and missing the next two entirely. Arizona is ranked No. 23 in the latest AP poll and can take the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South with a win over No. 17 USC in a game that will be televised by ESPN (at 10:45 p.m. ET).
With another strong performance in a win over the Trojans, Tate will move himself into the conversation for a more prestigious, stiffarmed trophy.