“I think what makes him so unique is his work ethic and his attitude. Very humble, wants to learn, wants to be coached. There’s no ego there and he’s totally a coach’s delight,” McGregor said of Tate, a total-package type of player sure to be recruited by virtually everyone in the country.
“If I had a son,” McGregor continued, “I would want my son to be just like Kenny Tate. He’s just a good boy.”
Not a bad football player, either.
Also a basketball standout, Tate last season was voted the most outstanding athlete in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, for any sport. This, remember, is a sophomore playing in one of the nation’s elite high school athletic leagues.
Last year he had 24 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another seven scores – including the game-winning run in DeMatha’s WCAC championship win over rival Good Counsel. He’d caught 10 passes in the first match-up between the teams.
He’s also a fiercely aggressive safety with a 4.49-second 40-yard dash,and a starting forward for a Stags hoops team sure to be ranked top-five nationally.
Still, says McGregor, “You would never know that he’s a great, great player. He doesn’t act like anybody special.”
“We’re a humble family,” says his father, Kenneth Fields, a former high-school football and basketball standout at Fairmont Heights (Md.) High School. Tate’s mother Michelle Fields was a college volleyball and basketball player.
Tate and his parents have not begun to delve into the recruiting process, although soon they’ll have no choice. A pile of written scholarship offers will be on McGregor’s desk come Sept. 1, the first day colleges can tender such offers to high school juniors.
“We will entertain everyone, but ultimately our family will make the best decision for Kenneth,” Kenneth Fields said.
Tate is loath to name a favorite college team or give preferences for location, style of play or anything else. He did admit, after some prodding, that he’s followed the Texas Longhorns closely. But until his junior year is through, recruiting will take a backseat to Stags football and academics.
He said he doesn’t particularly favor the hometown University of Maryland, located a few miles from his school, but could visit College Park for a game this fall. “If a place fits me and they can develop me as a football player, then they do have a shot,” he said.
In short, his recruitment is open.
Said McGregor, who has sent nine or more players to Division I football every year since 1990, “We’ll keep it under control and we’ll get the field narrowed, and once it’s narrowed we’ll talk to the people that he’s interested in and go from there.”
Though Scout.com has not yet released its rankings for the Class of 2008, several publications have touted Tate as a top-10, even top-5 junior.
“It’s just a number to me. I’m going to still keep working as hard as I can. If I move up, I move up. I’m just playing football,” Tate said, adding that he isn’t set on playing one position or another in college.
“As long as he’s been on the offensive side of the ball, he’s always made things happen. [But] he’s just a football player.”
McGregor will line him up not only at wideout and safety, but also here and there at tailback.
“You’ve got to him the ball. That’s a 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4, 200 pound tailback coming downfield at you,” McGregor said.
“You put him on the edge,” he continued, “and look out.”
It’s safe to say everyone will be looking out for Kenny Tate.