Prior to his sophomore season, few knew of his capabilities. After former Arizona starter Brandon Dawkins was injured, quarterback Khalil Tate was given an opportunity that would change his college career and disrupt the Pac-12 conference.
In the eight games he started for the Wildcats last season, Tate unleashed a series of speedy and sneaky scramble plays. He craftily broke free from tackles and outran defenders to the endzone. The success that Tate had last season was not a surprise to him
“I knew what I can do,” he said. “All I needed was an opportunity, I needed a chance.”
During the Wildcats’ game against the Colorado Buffs, Tate rushed in four touchdowns with 327 yards and broke the FBS quarterback rushing record. This performance gave him the Walter Camp and Maxwell Award National Player of the Week honors.
Tate was elected Pac-12 Offensive Player of the week for four consecutive weeks, becoming the first player in conference history to execute the feat. His 9.04 yards per play would rank him third in the nation in offense average.
The Inglewood native accumulated 1,411 rushing yards, becoming the first Pac-12 quarterback to rush 1,000 yards in a single season. Tate finished the 2017 season with 14 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns.
Through his breakout season, Tate earned the 2017 Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention. He is majoring in information science.
Excellent gameplay brought Tate popularity and being a quarterback taught him how to be a leader, which helped when Rich Rodriguez was fired.
“I’ve grown more, being a leader,” Tate, now a junior at Arizona, said. “Once when we didn’t have a real coach, that’s when I really have to put my foot in the door.”
To prepare for the 2018 season, Tate is prioritizing watching film. When he watches film of himself, he studies his mistakes in order to learn what he did wrong. In his first three games of this season, Tate has stayed in the pocket, making 887 passing yards and six touchdowns. So far, he only has two rushing touchdowns from 40 yards.
A 2018 season high came from Saturday’s 62-31 win over Southern Utah when earned 349 yards from 13 passes.
In his youth, Tate played for the Inglewood Jets. He attended Serra high school, where he developed into a four-star recruit. As a senior, he made 43 touchdowns and 4,000 total yards. His grandmother is his main source of inspiration.
“We used to go over her house and play catch with her all the time,” Tate said. “I think that’s something that sticks with me.”