All American Has UM Near Top of List

Widely considered one of the nation's top defensive tackle prospects, this player talks very highly of the Hurricanes and who the main competition for UM will be in the battle for his services.

Championship defenses start up front and nobody knows that better than UM defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. That's why the Hurricanes were quick to offer one of the nation's premier defensive tackle prospects – Warrensville Heights (Ohio) standout David Patterson.

At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, Patterson said he was timed last week on the track and ripped off a 4.80 40-time. Football is a game that's been constant for almost his entire life.

"Believe it or not, I started playing football when I was only about two or three," Patterson told me. "My cousins would have me out there in diapers throwing the ball around with me. When I was five or six, I was the water boy and I was always around it. Then when I was eight, I was on the team."

Patterson has dominated ever since – and not always as a defensive tackle.

"The very first time I started at the varsity level in ninth grade, I played middle linebacker," he said. "I was about 6-1 and 225 back then, but I was confused with all the counters and stuff they were running. I had about 10 tackles, but we lost something like 40-0. Ever since then, I have played defensive tackle."

Patterson also competes in track and field. He threw the discus 140 feet this year. As a freshman and sophomore, he played varsity basketball, and as a junior, he decided it was time for a change.

"I wanted to work on leverage, so I wrestled this past season," he said. "I won seven matches and lost four, but that was pretty much because I was so new at the sport. I'm not sure which one I'm going to do as a senior, but I know I have to get real serious about football training because I'll start college that fall."

Inside the classroom, the talented defensive lineman is already qualified, but he's not happy yet. "I scored an 870, but I am re-taking it. I want to get something over 1,000."

Patterson has attracted college coaches from all over the country this month, but the biggest surprise came when he received a phone call from one head coach.

"The biggest surprise was when Coach Coker from Miami called," he said. "It surprised me because he was the only head coach that called me and Miami doesn't really need to recruit up here in Ohio, even though they took Antonio Reynolds here last year. He was telling me how nice of a place Miami is, and how I shouldn't rush into my decision. He told me that I was the first defensive tackle that he had offered a scholarship to, and I thought that was really special. He also talked to my mother and talked about the two of us coming down for an official visit this fall. She'll have to pay her own way, but I really want her to go down there with me."

"I've gotten about 30 scholarship offers in the mail," he said. "The most recent one is from the University of Florida. They offered me the other night."

The one thing many people are probably wondering is what are the chances of Patterson getting away from Ohio. I brought that up to him.

"It's funny because I was reading one article on me that said I was a lock for Ohio State," he said. "That's not true at all. There's definitely a chance I'll leave. I want to go see other parts of the country because I have no idea whether Ohio State is the best place for me. Up until last year, I rooted for the Florida Gators but I haven't since Steve Spurrier left. And up until recently, I was looking hard at Ohio State. But I never expected to get this kind of recruiting attention. Like I never thought Miami would recruit me, let alone offer me a scholarship right from their head coach. When I got that offer, it told me I need to start looking around. My top choices right now would probably be Miami, Ohio State, and Florida, and I also like Michigan, Boston College, and a few other ones."

Patterson said he's also noticed a recent trend in college football that has him looking at schools from other conferences.

"There hasn't been many defensive linemen taken in the NFL Draft the last few years from the Big 10," he said. "All the defensive linemen going are coming from the SEC, the Big East, and the ACC it seems because they're faster. Everyone wants defensive linemen that can run and I think I'm one of those types of players."

Patterson said he plans on taking his time before making a decision.

"The team comes first," he said. "My biggest goal is for our team to win a state championship, then all the personal stuff will follow."

Personally, I was surprised to hear him talk about the Hurricanes in such high regard. I truly think UM is neck and neck with Ohio State on this one. Hopefully coaches Coker and Mark Stoops can continue to impress this super talented defensive lineman.

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