DeMatha star Tate chooses Terps

FootballSportsMaryland TerrapinsColleges and UniversitiesEducationDarrius Heyward-BeySan Francisco 49ers

After years of losing some of the top local college football talent, the Maryland Terrapins have apparently persuaded DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate to stay close to home.

Tate, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver, announced last night on Comcast SportsNet that he plans to play for the Terps next season. Tate is expected to sign his letter of intent Wednesday, the national signing day.

"I thought Maryland was the best fit for me, being close to home," Tate said. "Even though I'm a home-state kid, I still thought it was a home away from home, but I'm still close enough to be with my family."

Tate has been rated as high as the 16th best high school receiver in the country and according to Scout.com talent evaluator Jeff Ermann "is the best local recruit for Maryland since Vernon Davis."

Davis, now with the San Francisco 49ers, signed with Maryland in 2003.

At the end of the recruiting process, Tate chose Maryland over Illinois. Those in College Park were concerned that Tate would follow his former high school teammate, linebacker Ian Thomas, to Champaign. Thomas signed with the Illini last year.

Ermann said the significance of the signing for the Terrapins, who recently brought in James Franklin from Kansas State as offensive coordinator, "was huge" because it meant they had beaten out Mike Locksley, a former Maryland assistant who is now at Illinois.

"Illinois has really come in and poached a lot of talent from this area," Ermann said.

Tate is expected to challenge for a starting position as a freshman and could be teamed with Darrius Heyward-Bey (McDonogh) at wide receiver.

Tate's announcement came a day after defensive tackle Zach Kerr of Quince Orchard in Gaithersburg committed to the Terps, picking them over Rutgers.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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