Calling Kenny Tate's road to where he is now "long" is a bit of an understatement. A former four-star WR from DeMatha, just minutes from Maryland's campus, Tate had offers from Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and a few other big-name schools. He ended up at Maryland, only to promptly be switched to defense when the Terps had a lack of safeties his freshman year.
He ended up seeing intermittent playing time his true freshman year at a position somewhat unnatural for him; he stayed there his sophomore year, and appeared ready to break out of his shell and become an impact player. Heck, Ralph Friedgen even explicitly said "[Tate] is an impact player right now. [He] is a force."
Tate followed that up with a sophomore campaign that was just about identical to his freshman one. A few mistakes in coverage, a few bone-crunching hits, and more time spent waiting behind vets than playing until he eventually went out for the season with an injury. Of course, that set off some (rather deserved) doubting of Tate's future at safety and the decision to leave him there.
And then he comes out in the season opener against Navy and does something like this: 12 tackles, a forced fumble, and a game-saving tackle on Navy's final offensive play. Oh, and he was just named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. Pretty good outing, I think.
Is it Tate's breakthrough game? Maybe, maybe not. He still hasn't answered the biggest question surrounding his game from the start: does he have the natural instincts to cover adequately in the passing game? Obviously, that type of question won't be answered against Navy.
But he's certainly on the right track. And any time a player gets a national defensive player of the week award, I don't think anyone can complain. So maybe that headline was a tad inaccurate: has he arrived yet? Not definitely. But maybe.