DeMatha defensive coordinator Deno Campbell once told Kenny Tate – when Tate was still a student at the Hyattsville high school – that Tate one day would play linebacker for his college team.
At the time, Tate was being recruited as a wide receiver, and so he dismissed Campbell’s premonition without much thought. Tate ended up switching from wide receiver to defensive back during his freshman year at Maryland.
Then one day this winter, Tate and fellow linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield were in Maryland defensive coordinator Todd Bradford’s office talking about the team’s new schemes when Bradford pointed toward a board that displayed a potential depth chart. Tate was not listed as a free safety, the position at which he earned first-team all-ACC honors in 2010.
He was listed as an outside linebacker.
Tate said Sunday at ACC Football Kickoff that Campbell was quick to provide an “I told you so” when the player informed his former coach that Campbell’s prophecy had been fulfilled.
“Now I’m glad I paid attention to him back in high school and learned defensive things when I was on offense,” Tate said.
As for his new position – which will line him up on the strong side of the field – Tate said it’s not all that different from the one he played last year. In Bradford and first-year coach Randy Edsall’s defense, Tate’s position is known as the Star, and it contains a mixture of safety and linebacker responsibilities.
“It’s really not a huge change, other than me walking back and then coming back forward, walking from the left or from the right,” said Tate, who tallied a team-high 58 solo tackles last season. “I can still have the freedom to move around. I’m just closer to the line of scrimmage.”