Arizona Football

Sports Illustrated writer: Tate “absolutely” Heisman candidate if continues at same rate

Sports Illustrated college football writer Andy Staples is a national media member who has jumped on the Khalil Tate Bandwagon.

He might be steering that bandwagon toward New York City in early December for the Heisman Trophy ceremony if Tate continues his electrifying mastery over the Pac-12.

In October, Tate completed 41 of 58 pass attempts (70.7 percent) for 743 yards and six touchdowns. On the ground, he gained 840 yards on only 59 attempts with eight touchdowns. He averages 12.8 yards per pass attempt and 14.2 yards per carry, which are certainly Heisman-like numbers.

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Staples answered a question in his #AskAndy video show that sparked the Heisman discussion. The question: “What are the chances Khalil Tate makes it to NYC for the Heisman if his current rate of production continues?”

“I’d say it is a foregone conclusion that Khalil Tate will be in New York if he continues to produce the way he has been,” Staples said (see accompanying video). “This is the most explosive offensive player in the country. You absolutely have to consider him for the Heisman if he keeps going at this clip.

“It seems impossible that he could do that, but he keeps doing it every single week. Now, Arizona plays USC this week so they’ll get a big test. Khalil Tate will get a huge test. But if he does the same thing to the Trojans, how in the world do you leave him out of that discussion? … Honestly, if he does it throughout the rest of the season, I think there is a good chance he can win the Heisman.”

Sports Illustrated has also published an article with the headline, “Khalil Tate 101: The Pac-12 Network Can’t Hide the Most Exciting QB in the West Anymore.”

The magazine hits hard at the Pac-12 and its late-night programming for preventing Tate from more national exposure.

“Tate’s jaw-dropping performances … have to date been relegated to the late-night broadcast of the almost-impossible-to-watch Pac-12 Networks, which are unavailable to DirecTV subscribers,” SI’s Max Meyer writes. “So while West Coast viewers and #Pac12AfterDark’s cult followers have been treated to sheer greatness in the form of a 6′ 2”, 216-pound big-play machine, a large swath of the country has been unable to witness or even catch a glimpse of his dominance.

“He’s making his 2017 debut on ESPN, and the Wildcats are going up against (Sam) Darnold and USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Tate finally has a shot to launch his hype train into overdrive on the Pac-12’s biggest stage. If the quarterback can steer Arizona to an upset, he would get a deserved place near the top of all Heisman leaderboards and his team would be in prime position for a Pac-12 South title and a Dec. 1 trip to the conference championship game in Santa Clara with a New Year’s Six bowl berth on the line.”

More and more national media types are becoming amazed by Tate, which boosts Arizona’s image immensely from where the Wildcats started the season — 2-2 with victories over only FCS school NAU and struggling UTEP. That was before Tate became Arizona’s starting quarterback.

Reaction from ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit:

Reaction from Fox Sports college football analyst Bruce Feldman:

Reactions from CBS Sports college football writer Tom Fornelli:

Bleacher Report college football writer Adam Kramer:

Reaction from ESPN College GameDay analyst Desmond Howard (GameDay will be in Stillwater, Okla., for the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game)


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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