Exclusive: Arizona Football Quarterback Khalil Tate is the Present, not the Future

October 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
October 1, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate (14) runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Arizona Football sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate is more dedicated than ever to his coaches and team. He is also looking forward to putting 2016 behind him and moving forward.

The Arizona Football team had a tumultuous season in 2016 to say the least, and despite the number of injuries and attrition the team faced last year, thank goodness the team was healthy enough to run the ball well, leading to the Wildcats’ thrashing over their rival ASU Sun Devils.

There was no bowl game, but getting the cup back in Tucson gave Wildcats fans hope and a reason to smile. So now as the 2017 season approaches, Arizona fans have a brand new season to look forward too.

We were able to catch up with quarterback Khalil Tate to get more insight from his point of view on the past, present and the future.

As you may recall, the quarterback injury situation last season was one of the main reasons the team struggled. As we move into the 2017 season, we begin to wonder who will be taking snaps from under center.

Next season the Wildcats will be without Anu Solomon, since he is transferring to another school yet to be reported. Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate do return, and will battle for the starting position in 2017. So, that only leaves Arizona with two experienced quarterbacks currently on roster.

Despite the number of injuries Arizona had at the quarterback position, the true freshman Tate showed a lot promise for the future, playing against UCLA when he had a mostly healthy team.

Impressively enough, he also racked up the fifth most rushing yards of any Pac-12 quarterback last year. That’s definitely an eye-catching stat considering the limited amount of playing time he saw last season with only one almost complete game. Brandon of course finished atop the conference in rushing yards for a Pac-12 quarterback.

Photo taken by Lelsi Tate
Photo taken by Lelsi Tate /

Khalil is also in the top three youngest quarterbacks in the NCAA to start in a football game.

In addition to Dawkins and Tate at quarterback, the Wildcats also have two incoming freshmen for 2017 at the position. Braxton Burmeister, the four-star QB from La Jolla, CA, will almost assuredly arrive this weekend, just in time for the start of the spring semester of the 2016-2017 school year. Like Tate, Burmeister follows in Khalil’s footsteps a bit by enrolling early.

Braxton however, was just offered by the Oregon Ducks’ new Head Coach Willie Taggart, the former Western Kentucky and USF coach, so that is something to keep an eye on for now.

The second freshman quarterback commit coming in is Coach Rich Rodriguez’s son Rhett Rodriguez, the senior quarterback from Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson. Rhett told Zona Zealots that he has already learned his dad’s entire playbook and cannot wait to play for Arizona.

If you may recall, we enjoyed our time with Rhett, and found out a lot about how close the incoming commits already have become. Additionally, we learned how much he loves breaking down film with his dad, and one day may look to coach.

Related Story: Arizona Football commit Rhett Rodriguez, you'll be impressed

Khalil Tate is ready to compete. We told him that fans are always telling us they think he is the future. His response was classic Tate (his nickname), “I’m not the future, I am the present!” Profound sound bite, but Khalil was dead serious when he looked me in the eye and repeated himself.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Khalil this holiday break in-between family and friends visits along with training. Tate is anxious for spring training to start and getting back to work in Tucson. We met for our interview at his alma mater, Serra High School. Tate’s older brother Akili filmed the interview. Akili is a senior wide receiver for Hiram College and an In The Front Row Director/Producer.

We hope you enjoy this fun and insightful interview:

Must Read: Khalil Tate, the third youngest NCAA Quarterback to ever start as a true freshman

Khalil, we can’t thank you enough for your time and for sharing yourself with us and Wildcats fans everywhere. BEARDOWN Khalil, you’re right, you are the present.