The will he/won’t he question when it comes to Khalil Tate has been answered in a positive way for Kevin Sumlin and his Arizona football program.
Throughout a decidedly uneven 2018 campaign, there was near-constant speculation that Tate would transfer at the end of the season. Or that he would take his considerable athletic abilities and ply them in the NFL.
In the end, Sumlin and his offensive coaching staff, including first-year offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, did arguably their most important recruiting of this cycle as Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star is reporting that the quarterback is planning to return for another season.
Tate and his parents spoke with Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin on Tuesday. They collectively concluded that Tate’s best move would be to return in 2019 and work to improve his game.
Arizona sought an NFL draft evaluation for Tate from the league’s College Advisory Committee. The three possible outcomes are potential first-round pick, potential second-round pick or neither, which is a recommendation to stay in school. The committee advised Tate to remain at Arizona.
Tate burst onto the season as a true sophomore last season, rushing for 1,411 yards 12 touchdowns compared to 1,591/14 in the passing game. This year has been the exact opposite for Tate as he ran for just 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns while exponentially improving his passing stats at 2,530/26. The Colorado games the past two seasons provide the perfect statistical juxtaposition between 2017 Tate and 2018 Tate.
On October 7 of last year, Tate ran for 327 yards — on 14 carries!!! — in a 45-42 win over the Buffs, setting the FBS single-game rushing record for a quarterback. This season, Tate passed for 340 yards and threw five touchdowns for good measure; the former total is a career-high, while the latter matches his career best. Both of those standards were set in a Week 3 win over FCS Southern Utah earlier this season.
In addition to the new offense, Tate’s struggles in the running game this year can, in large part, be traced to an ankle injury that hampered him for a significant portion of the regular season.