California added a JuCo linebacker to the 2017 class after a pair of official visits this weekend, as Trinity Valley Community College sophomore Da'Quan Patton pulled the trigger. Patton is the seventh member of the class, and the second linebacker out of potentially five.
"I told coach that I wanted to commit, already [at the end of the visit]," Patton told BearTerritory on Monday night. "I walked in, and said, 'Coach, I'm ready to be a Golden Bear.' He said, 'I'm ready for you.' he told me that now that I'm committed to them, other schools are going to come after me, but I've just got to be a man and say, 'Hey, I made my decision, and this is where I'm going.'"
Patton came on the visit with Trinity teammate Alex Funches, a rush end.
"At first, I was like, I want to talk to my mom about it, get a little more comfortable about it, and then I did, and I said, 'Coach, I'm ready,'" Patton said "It felt good."
What did Mom have to say?
"She said, 'This is a big opportunity, God's giving you an opportunity, and you should just take it,'" Patton said. "The players, they kept it honest, and it felt like I was almost a part of the team, nearly, and I liked that."
Th 6-foot-2, 215-pounder plays the Stud linebacker position for Trinity, and he racked up 44 tackles this past season, his first in the JuCo ranks, after receiving no interest out of high school as a full qualifier. Right now, he has a 3.1 GPA. He chose the Bears over offers from SMU and Arkansas-Monticello.
"I just didn't understand the recruiting game," Patton said. "I didn't have any offers on the table, besides Trinity Valley, at the time."
Since he's spent a year in Austin, Tex., at Trinity Valley, he's not gotten much bigger, but he's added weight, and increased his speed and quickness.
"I'm learning to be a man, and to just take care of my business," Patton said.
Patton more than takes care of business. Since he was young, growing up in Topeka, Kan., he's had a knack for service. Every Sunday growing up in Topeka, he would help to feed the homeless.
When he spoke with BearTerritory on Monday, he had just gotten off work.
"I'm helping at the nursing home, cleaning dishes and serving food," Patton said. "I was looking for something, and I figured, hey, I might as well do that. They were in need of people, so I went up there and they said, 'Yep, we can use you.'"
And now, so can the Bears.
"They see me as a rusher, a big-time playmaker, using my speed," he said.
Cal returns two contributors from last season in Ray Davison and Devante Downs, as well as Aisea Tongilava, Hamilton Anoa'i and converted safety Derron Brown. This fall, Cameron Goode and JuCo linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk will be added to the mix. Goode and the rest of the freshman class arrived on campus on Monday. Head coach Sonny Dykes has praised on the athleticism of the group, but realizes that it is a very young core, with the transfers of Hardy Nickerson and Michael Barton, as well as the injury retirement of Jake Kearney.
In need of more linebackers, and quick, Cal is bringing in Patton this December.
Patton called the visit "amazing," and the official visit not only set a bar, but jumped over the bar it already set, he continued.
"They showed us the field, the locker room, showed us around the campus and we got to see some views," Patton said. "We really got to interact with the coaches and got to know them."
"There wasn't really a single moment, but I could be myself, and when I was with them, I was myself; I wasn't shy or anything," Patton said. "I liked what Coach Coc [Director of Career Development Ron Coccimiglio] was saying, that they bring the young men in, and guide them in the right direction. They really push their guys, and I liked that."