Maryland's Smith, Tate and the NFL draft
Underclassmen enter the NFL for different reasons. Underclassmen stay in school for different reasons. It’s a personal decision. Wideout Torrey Smith and safety Kenny Tate will have decisions to make in the next six weeks. Both are trying to gauge where they would be expected to be drafted in April. It also remains to be seen whether there even is an NFL season in 2011.
Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said he has already talked to Smith about the decision. If Smith is a first-round pick, Friedgen said, then he should go. That does not mean he should definitely stay if he is not a first-round pick. Smith has family considerations. He also graduates in a few weeks. Should he return, the QB Danny O’Brien-Smith combination in 2011 would be something to behold, to say the least. His return would enhance Maryland’s realistic – in my view – ACC title aspirations in 2011. And just think, the Smith we saw this season is a player who has been nursing an ankle injury since late September that has hampered his acceleration and cutting ability. Had he been healthy all season, ACC offensive player of the year honors may have been in reach.
Friedgen said he has not had an extensive talk with Tate yet, but the feedback Friedgen has gotten from Tate’s parents suggests the player will return. Tate, for a large part of this season, has been dominant. It has not just been the interceptions or even the fourth-down stop of Navy QB Ricky Dobbs in the dramatic season-opening victory. Take a look at the tackle he made against Florida State, when he threw the ball-carrier down with fury. He has played virtually every defensive position in coordinator Don Brown’s system. There is a reason why nose tackle A.J. Francis affectionately calls Tate a man among boys who is playing like a bully on a playground. Maryland takes a hit at linebacker after this season, but Tate’s return in the defensive backfield would give the Terrapins a real playmaker that offensives have to account for at all times. Again.
| December 1, 2010; 7:56 AM ET
Categories: Football, Ralph Friedgen
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