For Toriano Tate, family won out.
The DeKalb wide receiver announced on Thursday that he will continue his football career at Northern Illinois, where not only his father but multiple family members have played for the Huskies.
“Well, really they’ve always been my top pick because my dad and my uncle were really great ballers at NIU,” Tate said. “So they just kind of paved the way for me.”
Tate’s father, Terrance, and uncle, Darian, both played for the Huskies. And now Tate is getting his turn.
This past season, Tate had 374 receiving yards and four touchdowns, plus ran for another 297 yards and a touchdown. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown this year.
He also played linebacker and had 39 tackles, four for a loss. He also blocked three kicks this season.
“I don’t know what they want my position to be,” Tate said. “I feel like more of a threat on offense, but have a build for defense as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
Tate will be a preferred walk-on with the Huskies. The program has a long history of awarding scholarships to PWOs, a tradition that has continued under coach Thomas Hammock. Mason Blakemore, Louis Frye, and Trayvon Rudolph among others have all earned scholarships after walking on to the program.
“You always want the real thing, but at the end of the day I know I’m going to work harder than everybody to be the best version of myself and accomplish what I want to accomplish,” Tate said.
As a junior, Tate was the co-Offensive Player of the Year in the DuPage Valley Conference. He’s also a two-time Daily Chronicle all-area first-team selection.
Tate said he was also looking at Illinois (where DeKalb teammate Christian Lorenzo committed earlier this month), South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Northern Iowa.
Tate joins two other DeKalb graduates, Jordan Gandy and Cole Tucker, on the NIU roster. Both are starters for the Huskies.
“They’ve got a really good work ethic and treat everybody equally,” Tate said. “They give everybody the same opportunities.”