Patterson Joins his Best Friend

Once a barren desert for Wisconsin in terms of recruiting, the Badgers coaching staff grabs another highly-touted recruit from the state of Georgia after getting a verbal commitment from Jesup (GA) Wayne County lineman Jeremy Patterson Saturday.

Losing his mother and father at an early age, Jesup (GA) Wayne County lineman Jeremy Patterson relied on two people in his life for comfort: his older brother and his best friend, Krenwick Sanders.

So when the two close friends started getting recruited, the message given out to college assistant and head coaches was simple: the two are stuck together like glue.

"I told everybody who recruited them how important that relationship was," said high school coach Jody Grooms. "Wisconsin did a great job on building a strong relationship with both of them. It seemed like a great fit for both of them."

Although Sanders pulled the trigger first, Patterson waited until after his second visit to recognize he didn't want to play without his best friend, and didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to play for a program like Wisconsin.

Announcing his verbal commitment on Saturday, Patterson is the 18th verbal commitment in Wisconsin's 2014 recruiting class, choosing the Badgers over offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

After Wisconsin had gone over a decade without getting a recruit from the state of Georgia, the Badgers have gotten two in a span of 18 days.

"I am proud of him," said Grooms. "I don't push my kids anywhere. I advise them to look around and do what's best for them, and obviously Jeremy feels Wisconsin is the best option for him."

Patterson – currently ranked the No. 42 offensive guard in the country by Fox Sports Next – visited Wisconsin with Sanders on Sept.7 for the Tennessee Tech game; a visit that Grooms said sealed the Badgers as the team to beat.

"He visited with his best friend," said Grooms. "They are as close as brothers. Ever since they were in middle school they've been best friends. Jeremy also visited North Carolina State without Krenwick, but at the end of the day the relationship he has with the coaches at the University of Wisconsin and with Krenwick just won him over.

"The Badgers are the only show in town on Saturday and the Packers are the only show in town in Sunday. It's a football-crazed area, and that's all they talked about after they came home from the visit. They really feel wanted. They really feel needed."

Starting the last three seasons after not playing as a freshman the 6-4, 315-pound Patterson is so versatile, according to Grooms, that he can play guard, center, nose tackle or a 3-technique. Patterson is expected to start out on the defensive line.

"He's a kid that's an interior lineman who can help teams in a lot of different ways," said Grooms. "He's got long arms, is real explosive and is a hard-working kid in the weight room. He runs well. He runs a 5.0 40-yard dash. It's been a steady rate of progression for him. He's gotten better every year."

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