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Arizona's 26-year-old freshman QB is a former No. 3 overall pick in the MLB draft

Donavan Tate is trying to resurrect his career in a different sport.

Stanford v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona will have a 26-year-old freshman quarterback on its roster this season — one who was a top pick in the MLB draft all of eight years ago.

Donavan Tate was the No. 3 overall pick in the baseball draft 2009 by the San Diego Padres. The Cartersville, Ga., product came off the board two picks behind pitching wunderkind Stephen Strasburg to the Nationals. Tate didn’t just never make the majors; he never made it to Double-A ball, posting a career .652 OPS in the minor leagues and fizzling out. He served a 50-game drug suspension in 2011 and played his last minor league game in 2016. By that time, his career was long-stalled.

Tate was a prodigious athlete coming out of high school, and he’s now trying his hand at something different. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez announced Wednesday that the Wildcats would add Tate at quarterback. He’ll enter school as one of the oldest players in college football and will have a full slate of NCAA eligibility. He just can’t play baseball, because he’s already turned professional on the diamond.

An interesting angle to this for Arizona: Because of Tate’s agreement with the Padres eight years ago, it apparently won’t cost Rodriguez a scholarship to put him on the team.

Tate’s draft year included a ton of busts at the top, with every top-five pick except Strasburg failing to make much of a mark. 2009 was the Mike Trout year, when the Angels picked the world’s best baseball player 25th overall.

Tate was a football player in high school, and his physical ability wowed scouts.

"I remember I went to watch him play football one time,” his baseball area scout told a couple of years ago. “He was like a man among boys. He was a water bug out there. ... No one could tackle him. The bottom line was he was the best athlete in the country that year ... hands down."

The idea was that Tate could cover ground in the huge outfield at the Padres’ Petco Park, while also providing some offensive punch. From that same article:

"I know that [Grady Fuson, vice president of scouting and player development] liked him a lot," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers, who was GM of the Padres at the time, said of Tate on Thursday. "If you look at the Padres now, you see you have to be athletic at Petco Park. They've become that. We were trying to find that athlete — an offensive, defensive guy with that speed dynamic. He was kind of the guy from the beginning."

If Tate can resurrect his career on the gridiron, it’ll be an awesome story.