WR Likes Relationship With UM

Melvin Patterson was excited that preseason camp finally started two weeks ago. However last week provided a scare that he wasn't exactly ready for.

"I took a shot to the knee and thought it was over," Patterson said. "My knee kinda bent the wrong way. The trainer thought at first that I blew my ACL."

Fortunately for Patterson and his Alachua (Fla.) Santa Fe teammates, it was only a mild sprain. He returns to practice tomorrow and will be in full pads for the first time.

"I'm about 70 percent right now and hopefully I'll be real close to 100 percent for Friday's game against Union County (featuring CJ Spiller)," he said.

Melvin Patterson is expected to again play a key role on both sides of the ball.

"Man, I do it all," he said. "You'll see me playing receiver, strong safety, linebacker, you name it. I've always played both ways. I went to some of those camps and you could tell which kids did that. It's easy to just focus on one position but you're not as conditioned a lot of times. I tore some of those guys up."

Patterson, a 4.0 student with a 940 SAT score ("I slept through it pretty much"), is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the state. He's keeping his recruiting options open.

"It's Florida, Florida State, Miami, West Virginia, NC State, Georgia, ECU, South Florida, Central Florida, Indiana, LSU, and probably some more," he said. "I still need to narrow it down. I know I'll be taking all five visits. I don't care what anyone says. I gotta enjoy my visits. I don't care if I have a head coach at my doorstep."

Don't expect any early commitments from the talented receiver. He gave a nice analogy.

"Making a commitment is like telling someone you love them," he said. "The next day you could tell her something different. It's the same way. People change their minds when they take visits. That's the reason I plan on taking all five, even if I know where I wanna go."

Where does Miami stand on that list right now? Patterson says the Canes are near the top, although he hasn't gotten a UM offer yet.

"I'm still waiting on Miami and Florida State," he said. "I've been calling Coach Soldinger off and on. He's good friends with my head coach. They played against each other when he was a coach at Miami Southridge. He's real cool."

Patterson says he and Soldinger have developed a strong relationship and a big reason for that is because of the UM coach's attitude.

"He's straight up with me," he said. "That guy doesn't fool around. He tells me, 'if you don't wanna come then tell me because I'll stop recruiting you right now'. They wanna see what I do during the season. He says that if they want me they'll come after me and if not, they wont. He keeps it simple and puts it on the table for you. I like his honesty. I'm a patient man. If they wanna see what's up during the season, I'll just have to show 'em."

Many people believe Patterson, who says he's not ready to name a favorite or even a group of favorites yet, is leaning to the Gators because of his location to the UF campus. Patterson addressed that.

"Florida's a tight place but I gotta wait and see," he said. "Everyone is excited but there's always hype when a new coach comes around. Look at Ron Zook. You just never know. I'm gonna have my eyes on them though."

The talented senior feels his game is a bit different than a lot of other top receivers.

"I don't care who you are or who your daddy is," he said. "I'm coming to play. Rankings don't mean anything to me. They don't mean anything when you're on the field. I'm coming and I'm coming hard. A lot of guys don't do that. I gotta fight. It's not easy out there so you gotta walk around like you have a chip on your shoulder, trying to prove something to someone. You gotta have that edge. Some guys have it, some don't. I wanna make sure I always got it. People will find out this fall."

And people like the coaches at FSU and UM will be among those watching closely.

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