Donavan Tate, No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, to play football at Arizona

Tate will walk on as a quarterback and compete for the starting job while the Padres pay his college tuition.

After standing out as a two-sport athlete in high school, Donavan Tate chose baseball over football and was the No. 3 pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.

Tate is returning to football following six seasons in the Padres minor league system and never playing above the advanced Single-A level.

Tate signed with the University of Arizona, where he will walk on as a quarterback for the Wildcats, the Arizona Daily Star was the first to report.

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The 6-3, 200-pound Tate is expected to compete with incumbent starter, redshirt junior Brandon Dawkins, and sophomore Khalil Tate (no relation) for the starting job. Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez is also bringing in his son, Rhett, and K’hari Lane to join Tate in the freshman quarterback class.

Tate, who is 26, will enroll at Arizona as a freshman and the Padres will pay for his college education, which was stipulated in his original contract. Tate originally committed to play football and baseball at the University of North Carolina before he was drafted by the Padres, who gave him a signing bonus of $6.7 million. Substance abuse issues and injuries stymied his development and he was released by the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes earlier this year.

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