In 2013, the last year Wharton High’s football team went to the playoff, Wildcats’ quarterback Chase Litton was throwing passes to wide receiver Auden Tate.
Next year, they may both be on NFL rosters.
Tate, a starter for Florida State at wide receiver last season, and Litton, the starting quarterback at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, have both declared for the 2017 NFL draft, scheduled for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
The former Wildcats just completed their junior years in college, passing on their final years of eligibility.
If they ended up drafted, as expected, that would make three members of the 2012 Wharton football team, including Tampa Bay Buccaneer Vernon Hargreaves, on NFL rosters.
Tate will forego his senior season at FSU after catching 40 passes for 548 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns in 2018. At 6-5, 225, he has all the measurables NFL scouts want these days in a wide receiver. He has very good speed and hands, exceptional height and a physical style that gives him an edge against smaller defensive backs in the red zone.
Shoulder and foot injuries limited his playing time at FSU in his first two seasons. However, a solid junior campaign and the changing of the coaching staff at FSU nudged him to go pro.
CBS Sports ranks Tate as the No. 7 wide receiver in the upcoming draft. A mock draft at DraftUtopia.com has Tate going 10th overall in the first round to the Los Angeles Rams, while other mock draft “experts” have him being selected in the first three rounds.
USA Today ranked Tate as the 39th best prospect in the draft.
One mock draft, WalterFootball.com, has Tate going 77th overall to Cincinnati, with Washington taking Litton a pick later.
At 6-6, 235-pounds, Litton also has many of the tools NFL scouts drool over, including a lively arm to go with his height.
Litton graduated from Wharton a year earlier than Tate, and was a three-star recruit (Rivals.com, 247Sports) who initially committed to hometown USF and reportedly had offers from LSU and Western Kentucky, but settled in on Marshall, where he was a three-year starter.
He became one of only two quarterbacks in school history to complete at least 60 percent of their passes in three straight seasons.
Litton’s draft prognosis, however, is not as rosy as Tate’s, as he is coming out in a quarterback-heavy year and with some scouts feeling he could benefit from an additional year of college.
Although both former Wildcats were very good basketball players in high school, it looks like football has turned out to be the right choice for both of them.