Terps in the Mix for DeMatha Star Tate
Tate and his father have been to College Park on several occasions, most recently visiting for the spring game. He's sat in on meetings and forged a strong relationship with head coach Ralph Friedgen and defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, who is in charge of recruiting from the area's private schools.
"I liked it very much. I got to know everybody and talk to the players and coaches. It was nice," said Tate, who as a junior rushed for 362 yards and one touchdown, caught 17 passes for 365 yards and six touchdowns and returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.
Cosh "is a nice guy. He's been in [steady] contact with me … He's local. He went to another WCAC school, Bishop McNamara, so he knows the level of competition around here."
Added Kenneth Tate, his father: "Every visit to Maryland has been excellent. The coaching staff has been great. We've had the chance to meet coach Friedgen a few times I we really like him. He's a straight-shooting, straightforward person … Maryland is definitely going to get serious consideration."
Tate has been well-known since his freshman year. Also a basketball standout, he was named the top athlete in the talent-loaded WCAC as a sophomore. He won't be playing hoops this summer, though, and it remains to be seen if he'll play next winter. He's instead focusing his attention on working out and beginning to look closely at recruiting for the first time, and he plans to come up with narrowing a workable list of options from among the dozens and dozens of schools offering him a scholarship.
"That should come out soon, probably by the end of school," he said.
It appears safe to say Maryland will be on that list.
"Maryland will definitely get serious consideration," the elder Tate said.
But the Terps will have to beat out traditional powers like Tennessee, Florida and Ohio State, among others. Tate, though, said program prestige is not an issue.
"That really doesn't matter to me. A team can get a bunch of good kids who can play football, and beat anybody," Kenny Tate said.
Tate is listed as a wide receiver and is being recruited by most schools at the position, but he also plays running back, safety and kick/punt returner at DeMatha. Maryland is one of the only schools to offer him a spot at running back, the position he played for most of his life before his height prompted a move to wideout. Maryland is also heavily recruiting Friendly High School standout Lamaar Thomas, another explosive runner who could play either position, and by landing both players the Terps' '08 class would arguably have one of the best playmaking duos in the nation.
"They see me as playing running back, the position I've played all of my life," Tate said. "But it really doesn't matter. If I'm on the field, I'm happy, it doesn't matter whether I'm at running back or wide receiver."
Tate runs a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and has great power, shiftiness and vision. He's also a very smart player and a good student.
"He's leaning toward sports medicine, so of course we're looking at schools with" good sports medicine programs, "but he's not 100 percent sure," the elder Tate said. "But also it's important to find the right system for Kenny and somewhere that he'll have an opportunity to play early. I know Kenneth wants to play early in his career."
In addition to the trashbags of mail in McGregor's office, Tate's mother, Kim Fields, has seen her mailbox regularly become jam-packed magnet for recruiting letters. But while Tate and his parents have done their best to play down his recruitment, they also aren't going to rush into anything. Tate doesn't know where, if anywhere, he'll visit this summer. It seems more likely he'll make his visits this fall, when school is in session and he can view his options in action. A decision is seemingly quite a while off.
Until then, he said, he's focusing on working hard and having an outstanding senior year. Tate, a four-star prospect, has the potential to be one of the higher-ranked players in the nation come next fall and winter. Needless to say, the Terps will be watching every step of the way.
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