Recruiting: Cate Is A Student Of The Game

When Alex Cate showed up in Stillwater over the weekend to watch Oklahoma State upset 13th-ranked Texas Tech and then before leaving told Oklahoma State coaches he had changed his mind and de-committed from LSU and would be back in January to start classes at OSU to compete at quarterback for the Cowboys there were a lot of folks that were surprised. One of them, however, that was not surprised was Tom Jones, Cate's high school head coach at Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City.

"His dad coaches with us and I talked to his dad, but I haven't talked to Alex," Jones said on Tuesday. "I kind of knew what was going on with him. Even after he committed (to LSU), Oklahoma State was still interested and committed to him. The coach (Todd Bradford) basically never gave up on him. When they went down to Oklahoma State this summer they came back with a lot of good feelings about Oklahoma State and that staff.

"They just got enamored by the Southeastern Conference and everything, but then Alex got to looking at opportunities at Oklahoma State, and the coaches did a great job of staying with Alex. They won the family over to with mom and dad and everybody during the recruiting process."

Jones is sorry to lose Cate and said Oklahoma State is getting a true student of the game who has all the physical skills needed to succeed at quarterback at the Division I level. Cate was instrumental in the very successful two-year run at Cottonwood that included a championship in 2004 and a run to the Utah state semifinals this past season. In two seasons Cate threw for 74 touchdowns and more than 6,600 yards. This past season he threw for more than 2,800 yards and 34 touchdowns for the 9-2 Vikings.

"It's been great," Jones said of coaching Cate. "Alex as a person couldn't be better. He's a humble young man. He's a quiet leader and did a great job for us."

Jones said the loss in the semifinals was not Cate's fault. In fact, it was Cate and the offense that came back in the game to give Cottonwood a chance.

"The semifinals we were playing a team that throws the ball a lot like we do," explained Jones. "They are a diverse team and their defense was a quick smaller defense. We thought we were going to run the ball on them quite a bit. Our running back rushed for 210 yards, but what happened was early in the game we got ourselves behind the eight ball. We had a punt blocked and we gave up a big play on third down and they got two quick touchdowns and we were behind. Like I said our running back rushed for 210 yards and Alex threw for 190 yards. Their defensive secondary was pretty good and we had some breakdown of routes. We scored some points in the second half to get back in it, but we couldn't get back over the hump."

Jones describes Cate as a hard worker who has never taken his abilities for granted.

"He's worked very hard over the last four years," Jones said. "He's spent a lot of time in the off season throwing the ball. He's made trips to California to work with Bob Johnson in his camp there and he was at a lot of the camps and combines like the Elite 11 camp. He's come in the morning every day to throw and work out. He's been very good in the weight room and played baseball. He's a hard worker and has a good head for football. He spends a lot of time watching video and studying opponents and the things we need to do to win. He has a great work ethic and he's a great athlete."

Cottonwood does run mostly a spread offense with a mixture of two-back formations. It's a multiple offense that has allowed Cate to learn a lot, and he was also given some freedom with his strong desire to learn everything he could about the game.

"He does a great job in terms of taking coaching, and he is very open in taking what the coaches have for him and then takes it and executes what is given to him," Jones said of Cate as a gridiron pupil. "He is a very good student of the game and loves to watch video and understand what is going on. He does a great job of reading defenses."

He has plenty of physical ability, and along with teammate and running back Stanley Havili, brought plenty of attention to Cottonwood, Jones said.

"He has great touch, very accurate and he can throw the long ball," continued Jones. "He does a great job of getting it out there and can get the air underneath it that he needs to and get it to the receivers. He has all those different aspects.

"We've had coaches come through from Miami, Georgia, Colorado, Michigan and about every other big school ... Notre Dame, Washington. We had a lot of coaches come through, probably the most we've ever had. We have another good player in our running back Stanley Havili, who has 15-20 offers. We had a lot of coaches come through and watch some of our workouts, our drills in the spring."

Jones said he will obviously miss Cate, but added that a powerhouse school like Cottonwood has some great young talent coming up. In getting a commitment from Cate, the pipeline has started and maybe OSU assistant Todd Bradford and the Cowboys will be back in Utah in years to come.

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