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ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins offered advice to UA quarterback Khalil Tate last season

Posted at 6:15 PM, Aug 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-18 21:42:52-04

One year ago, Manny Wilkins was about to enter his second season as ASU's starting quarterback, while Khalil Tate was listed as the Arizona Wildcats' backup QB.

Today, Tate is entering his junior season at UA as a Heisman Trophy favorite and was just featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, while Wilkins is entering his senior year with a Sun Devil team that most experts have picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South division.

Does any of this bother Wilkins? Hardly.

"That’s what you guys think. It is what it is, what it is," Wilkins told ABC15's Craig Fouhy about the idea that Tate and the Wildcats have overshadowed Wilkins and the Sun Devils entering the 2018 season. 

Wilkins and Tate don't know each other especially well, and Wilkins referred to Tate as an "acquaintance" rather than a friend. They did get into a bit of a back-and-forth on Twitter in January when ASU went recruiting at Tate's former high school.

But when Tate burst on to the scene last season and began setting team and NCAA records following an injury to previous Wildcat starting QB Brandon Dawkins, Wilkins offered some advice to his counterpart in Tucson.

"I kind of just put my two cents in and tried to let him know, ‘Hey man, stay grounded. There’s going to be a lot of people that want to talk to you, out of your friends, family that you haven’t talked to you in a while -- they’re going to come out of nowhere,’ just because I’ve been in that situation before," Wilkins said. 

Despite Tate's accolades, Wilkins and the Sun Devils enter the season with bragging rights over their rivals by virtue of their 42-30 win in last year's Territorial Cup game in Tempe. Arizona had a 10-point halftime lead in that game, but ASU rallied as Wilkins threw a pair of second-half touchdown passes and Tate missed most of the second half due to injury.

Wilkins and Tate will meet again in Tucson in November. But for now, Wilkins is content to allow Tate to rack up the national attention while focusing on the Devils' upcoming season -- his final year in an ASU uniform -- which begins at home vs. UTSA on Saturday, Sept. 1.

"Obviously he blew up, which is incredible, man. It’s awesome to see somebody's life take a turn for the positive," Wilkins said of Tate. "But I never give anybody too much praise or anything like that, because I do my best to keep those around me humble. And if people don’t move the way I move, I let them go."