PINEHURST, N.C. – Maryland senior Kenny Tate patiently replied to questions about his move to linebacker Sunday, the queries rolling in steadily during more than an hour with print reporters at the ACC Kickoff.
Considering he was one of the conference’s top defensive players a year ago, the repetitiveness wasn’t astonishing, particularly with the format of reporters roaming from table to table. Yet it might come as a mild surprise that Tate said he didn’t spend much time considering whether to turn pro after last season.
Tate received what he described as a second- or third-round grade from the NFL’s draft advisory panel, feedback he used to back up his inclination to remain in College Park for a final season.
“I wanted to come back,” Tate said. “I knew I’d be closer to my degree and definitely with this whole lockout thing, I was like ‘That’s not even worth it.’ I’m glad the NFL has come to an agreement and there will be NFL football this year, but back then [I thought] I would definitely have a season, I’d be closer to graduating and the NFL is not going anywhere.”
Tate said he was leaning toward staying regardless of the Terrapins’ coaching change. Ralph Friedgen was fired in mid-December and coached Maryland in the Military Bowl. Randy Edsall was hired in early January as Friedgen’s replacement.
Only one thing, it would seem, might have changed Tate’s mind about sticking around to play as a senior.
“If they came back saying first round, then yeah, that’s pretty much close to a no-brainer,” Tate said. “I didn’t feel like I was at that point. I was saying that my stock can only grow in another year and a degree is definitely something important to me. I should get that. The NFL is not going anywhere. They were about to lock out anyway. I know that if they didn’t have a season this year, they were definitely going to resolve it by the season next year.”