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Superstar QB Admits He Tweeted To Keep A Coach From Landing Job At His School

close-up view of Khalil Tate before game.

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Khalil Tate #14 of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Arizona Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats won 58-37. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Khalil Tate really didn't want to play for Navy's Ken Niumatalolo. The Midshipmen head man has been named a candidate for a number of jobs over the last few off-seasons, including Arizona's unexpected opening in January.

After Rich Rodriguez's scandal-led ouster, Niumatalolo was reportedly considered for the Arizona opening. He has had great success at Navy, and would bring a completely new style to the Pac-12, with his option-based attack.

Tate is one of the most dynamic dual-threat players in the country. After taking over as the Wildcats' full-time starter a few games into the 2017 season, he generated some Heisman buzz by putting up eye-popping numbers.

Taking over as the primary QB in October, Tate finished the year with with 1,591 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and ran the ball 153 times for 1,411 yards and 12 more scores, averaging an excellent 9.2 yards per carry.

When the Ken Niumatalolo Arizona rumors started, Khalil Tate let the world know where he stood.

He tweeted a since-deleted message, stating unequivocally that he had no desire to play in a triple option system.

A sceenshot of a Khalil Tate tweet.

There was also some indication that he could leave the school if he wasn't pleased with the hire. Ultimately, Arizona went with former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin.

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Tate admitted that he tweeted specifically to prevent Niumatalolo from being hired.

"I knew exactly what I was doing when I tweeted that out," Tate told Bleacher Report. "I don't do Twitter. When I tweet something, I download the app, tweet, then delete the app from my phone. So when I tweet, it's important."

[...]

"I had to make sure I was heard, make sure the team was heard, because my teammates didn't want to run the triple option, either," Tate continues. "So the idea was to tweet it out, let it get traction, then delete it. I knew people reading it would say, 'Why did he delete it?' But that just magnifies it more."

Tate made sure to note that Niumatalolo is a good coach, but wanted his and the team's voices heard.

"I didn't want to go about the situation and then just be, OK, he's the new coach, I don't care. Because I did care. We did care as a team," Tate said. "I knew tweeting that would create a buzz and maybe not get (Niumatalolo) as our coach. I think Ken Niumatalolo is a great coach. It's nothing against him. But I think it was important to say what I had to say and let everyone know that we're not just going to be quiet and let things happen. We're going to be heard."

It isn't that often that a college football star is able to exert his influence like a pro athlete may, including the hiring of a new coach. Agree or disagree with it, Khalil Tate's move was pretty significant.

[Bleacher Report]