Riding the High Roller at The Linq was fun and so was attending UNLV’s 100-64 victory over Air Force on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. But the top two reasons three-star outside linebacker David Tate Jr. said he verbally committed to the Rebels following his official weekend visit to UNLV were coach Tony Sanchez and defensive coordinator Kent Baer.
“I’m a family person and my family really loved them. There was no other choice. I just wanted to be a Rebel,” Tate said. “Coach Sanchez told me UNLV is on the rise and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
A 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pounder from Edison High School in Fresno, Calif., Tate also had scholarship offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Utah State and Fresno State.
“Coach Baer was straight up with me. He told me I have a chance to come in and play and start at my position,” Tate said. “Coach Sanchez was basically saying the same thing, how I can get the train rolling and how our recruiting class is the top recruiting class in the Mountain West right now.
“We have the ability to be a top-ranked school.”
Before UNLV hosted Tate and 12 other high school recruits — including eight who’ve already committed to the Rebels — for their official visits, UNLV’s recruiting class was ranked fourth in the MW by Rivals.com and 71st in the nation.
Tate is the second three-star recruit from Fresno to commit to the Rebels. The other is Bullard High running back Charles Williams, who happens to be Tate’s cousin.
“Happy my boy @David_TateJr coming to Vegas good to have family out here!” Williams posted Sunday on his Twitter account.
Defensive lineman Leveel Tatum, another three-star recruit from Fresno and Tate’s Edison High teammate, also visited UNLV but has yet to commit. Tate said Tatum, the nephew of late Oakland Raiders great Jack Tatum, was talking it over with his parents, who didn’t make the trip.
Tate, ranked the nation’s No. 59 outside linebacker by 247sports.com, is a self-described playmaker.
“That’s all I do is make plays. Force fumbles, get interceptions and make tackles,” he said. “I look to come in and make plays early.”
UNLV, which had 24 scholarships available, signed eight midyear junior college transfers and have verbal commitments from 10 prep players, including Tate. A handful of other recruits are expected to make their official visit to UNLV next weekend in advance of National Signing Day on Feb. 3, when high school seniors can sign a binding letter of intent.