As of Jan. 26, two Georgetown University football players have announced they will be declaring for the NFL Draft this spring. Wide receiver Michael Dereus (COL ’19) and senior defensive lineman Khristian Tate both announced via Instagram that they are entering the NFL draft pool, with the draft occurring in April.
On the field, the two players have made separate but important contributions. Dereus began his Georgetown career as a freshman, playing ten games and making one start. In his first year on the Hilltop, Dereus recorded 426 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 100-yard kickoff return that earned him recognition as the Patriot League Rookie of the Week.
In his senior season for the Hoyas, Dereus totaled 726 receiving yards with 73 kick return yards, proving to be a significant part of the Hoyas’ offense. In a standout performance against Lehigh this season, he recorded a season-high 155 receiving yards on the day with one touchdown and six receptions. His junior season, Dereus led the Hoyas with 379 receiving yards, and his sophomore year he was named to the All-Patriot League Second Team. In addition to being a leader on the field, Head Coach Rob Sgarlata also praised Dereus for his role leading the team off the field.
“It’s been great to watch them [Dereus and Tate] develop into team leadership roles over the years,” Sgarlata said.
Dereus graduated from Georgetown in December and has moved to Florida to train full-time in preparation for the draft.
Tate contributed on the other side of the ball as a defensive lineman during his four years on the Hilltop. Similar to Dereus, Tate also made his decision to attend Georgetown after signing day. He was planning to walk on at the University of Georgia when an assistant coach familiar with his hometown of Warner Robins, Ga. contacted Sgarlata about Tate. He committed to play at Georgetown without ever having walked on campus, according to Sgarlata. Tate’s senior season was cut short Oct. 12 when he suffered an arm injury in the homecoming game against Fordham. Since the injury, Tate has been training to regain his strength as he looks toward the draft.
“I blocked the field goal, and the ball hit me, and it just exploded,” Tate said in an interview with The Hoya. “The process has been slow – I’m a little stubborn, so the doctor will clear me for five pounds, 15 pounds, but I’m ready to get back to doing what I’m doing. So it’s been slow, but it’s also been good to sit down and learn and relax for it.”
When reflecting on the skills he has acquired during his four years as a Hoya, Tate recognized all the tactical skills Sgarlata and his team of assistants taught him.
“Coming out of high school, I was a running back, so putting me in a different position helped me because it created some versatility for me. Coming out I wanted to play running back, but the coaches know what they’re doing, and you’ve got to trust them,” Tate said. “Putting me there, helping me develop some explosiveness, some vision on the field, it just helped me view the game from a different perspective. They also just pour a lot into you every day. Overall I just feel like they helped me a lot.”
Hoyas have not had significant experience in the NFL, given that Georgetown plays in the Patriot League, which is in the Football Championship Subdivision and is not a Power Five conference. The Hoyas’ presence in the league, however, is historic. When the first NFL team was assembled in 1920 in Canton, Ohio, five of the 24 players on the roster were Georgetown graduates – more representation than any other team.
The last Hoya to play on the professional football stage was Jim Ricca (SFS ’51), a defensive tackle and guard that played 47 games with the Washington, D.C. NFL team from 1951 to 1954 and continued in the league until his retirement in 1956. Alex Buzbee (COL ’07), remains the most recent Georgetown graduate to make a run at the NFL after he was activated from the Washington, D.C. NFL team’s practice squad in 2007. Unfortunately, Buzbee did not see any action during his time in the league and was released in 2009.
Despite Georgetown’s absence in professional football, many Hoyas do have NFL experience off the field – Paul Tagliabue (CAS ’62) served as the league’s commissioner from 1989 to 2006, Carmen Policy (LAW ’66) is the former president of the Cleveland Browns and the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers, Jim Schwartz (CAS ’88) is the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Jerry Jones Jr. (COL ’92) is the current vice president of the Dallas Cowboys.
Both Tate and Dereus have a long road ahead leading up to the draft, which will begin April 23 in Paradise, Nev. This process involves pro days, the NFL combine, full-time training, strength regimens and meetings with coaches, general managers and agents. Regardless of their future careers in football, both players have certainly left behind a lasting legacy on Georgetown football.
“I’ll definitely miss the people the most. Being here at Georgetown, you get to meet some amazing people, and you develop these relationships over four years,” Tate said. “You’re not going to miss the school, you’re not going to miss the morning workouts, you’re going to miss who you’re doing it with.”