The Family Man: Kenny Tate

From the beginning – and in Kenny Tate's case, that was during his freshman year of high school – there were plenty of doubts about Maryland's ability to land the big one. Tate was a prized commodity, the sort of local blue-chipper Maryland football had been having trouble landing. But at least one person always thought the Terps had as good a shot as anyone with the four-star wide receiver.

"Oh yeah, I always thought he might go to Maryland," said DeMatha football coach Bill McGregor. "It's a great football program, a very, very good school educationally, and close enough that his parents and family can go and watch every game he plays in, just about."

That last part cannot be overlooked. Tate is quite close to his parents, Kenneth and Michelle, as well as his little brother Christian and his teammates at the Hyattsville powerhouse DeMatha. Family is the most important thing is his life, so once he also felt at home at Maryland, there was little chance he'd go anywhere else.

"He's close enough that he can come back and get a smile from mom or a pat on the back from dad if he needs it," McGregor said. "Had he gone to Illinois, that would be pretty far away, and you'd have airfare, renting a car, hotels. That's a lot of expenses."

That's not to say he chose Maryland by default. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh worked long and hard to form a great bond with the 6-foot-4, 210-pound senior, one that paid off when Tate donned a Terps hat on local TV last week.

"He was with Kenny all along the way, and his mother really liked Coach Cosh as well," McGregor said. "That was a big reason why he went to Maryland."

In Tate, Maryland is getting a player whom McGregor regards among the best of the 300-plus who have earned college scholarships during his tenure at the school. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida, Penn State, Tennessee and many others would have loved to have him signing with their respective schools today.

"I don't think I've ever had a kid as highly recruited as Kenny," McGregor said.

His commitment could pay further dividends on the recruiting trail.

"I think it send a message to D.C.-area recruits that a boy as highly recruited as anyone is committing to Maryland. I think it'll make them think, why not stay at home and play for coach Friedgen and the University of Maryland."

Cosh isn't unaware of that effect. He called McGregor yesterday, trying to find out who his best players in 2009 would be.

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