It appears Arkansas’ reputation for being a bastion of talented tight ends isn’t going to end any time soon.
In addition to having senior Jeremy Sprinkle and the redshirt freshmen trio of Will Gragg, Cheyenne O’Grady and Austin Capps on campus, a star is coming.
That would be Arizona Western College four-star tight end Jeremy Patton (6-6, 248, 4.58), who committed to the Razorbacks last weekend while on his official visit.
Patton is a young man that wants to be a meteorologist after playing in the NFL and who Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, USC, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Louisville and a host of others.
He had a visit to Alabama set up for the weekend of Sept. 24th and likely would have taken his last one to USC, Florida or Ohio State.
“It’s the right move,” Patton said. “It’s the right place for me. I know it is. I’m not even going to take my last two official visits. I’m done with this process and I’m glad to be a Razorback.”
Patton had planned to wait until Aug. 30 to make his decision, but pulled the trigger after loving what he found in Fayetteville and the visit exceeding his expectations.
“Greatly,” Patton said. “Coming here I know it was a place I was really highly interested in and once I figured out the people were as great as they are and they actually had the specific major, I was looking for and it pretty much sealed the deal,” Patton said. “ I knew I was going to commit right away.”
Arkansas has had a pair of Mackey Award winners in the past five years with Hunter Henry winning it last season and D.J. Williams capturing the award for the nation’s best college tight end in 2011.
Both of those guys were drafted while Arkansas has also put Chris Gragg and A.J. Derby into the NFL and should have another one soon with Sprinkle.
“You have guys like Hunter Henry last year,” Patton said. “He’s a pretty irreplaceable guy and Jeremy Sprinkle this year. He’s a very similar build as me, if not the same, and he’s going to be a senior and they have a couple of freshmen that are good players but they need them to step up and they want an older juco guy to come in and be the guy.
“I think they want me to be that guy and I have the capability to be that guy. I just have to put in the work to do it.”
Patton caught 17 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns last season while playing at around 215.
“I’m 250 now I could play at 260 here and be great,” Patton said.
Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos and tight ends coach had a very detailed plan available for Patton on how they plan using him in the Razorbacks’ offense.
“They showed me on film what they’re going to try and do with me, a couple of new things they’re going to try and do,” Patton said. “I can play multiple positions. I can split out wide I can play in line and can play in the backfield. They really love my versatility.”
He looks forward to working with Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, a very intense individual.
“He’s real passionate, always fired up, always sweating,” Patton said. “We were just sitting down in his meeting room and it’s comfortable 69 degrees, 70 degrees probably and he’s looking down and talking and all you see is a bead of sweat drop down to the ground.
“He’s real intense you can tell he’s fired up about what he loves to do.”