"I got the offer today," Patilla said earlier today. "It was in a note. They sent me this little card. I didn't hesitate accepting. I just committed a little under an hour ago. I haven't told anyone yet, but word is already spreading fast. I can probably thank my coach for that because he is almost as excited as I am (laughing). He is a big Michigan guy. I am too. It has been my dream to go there since I was a little kid."
Patilla, who chose Michigan over offers from Indiana, Toledo, Bowling Green, Ball State, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois, couldn't contain his excitement when he spoke with Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr. The newest Wolverine made it clear that there is no other place he would rather be. "The first thing he told me was that he was very impressed me," Patilla said. "I already knew that because we had a conversation the last day of camp. Then he said that he would love for me to be a Wolverine and that a scholarship was on the table. He was in the middle of saying that I didn't have to accept it right now, and I kind of cut him off (laughing). I know I shouldn't have, but I just said I'm taking it right now! I'm taking it right now and I'm running with it! He was very happy. He was on vacation and he said call him when he gets back so we can talk more. That's my new coach!"
The Michigan coaching staff singled out Patilla's versatility as one of his most desirable traits. It leaves open the possibility of him playing at a number of different positions when he suits up in the Maize and Blue. "They really didn't tell me what position I will be coming in for," Patilla said. "I was telling Coach DeBord what position my high school coach is going to have me play this year and he said the thing that they were impressed with was that I lined up at every position and did them all like I had been there before. My guess is outside linebacker will be my primary position. That's what I played last year…outside linebacker and a fullback type of position. This year my coach is kind of switching the defense around to a 5-2, which would make me a defensive end. That might be fun. We'll see."
Now that his football future is set, Patilla plans to go about preparing not only for his last high school season, but the beginning of his Michigan career as well. "I run track and I'm going to continue to. I'm getting bigger, but I'm getting faster too. It's possible that I may run with Maximum Output (Stan Edwards' track club). I was supposed to run with them this summer, but I had so many camps to go to. My good friend Ahmad Rashad runs with them and he is fastest guy in the country. He wasn't always as fast as he is now. He just got better. I need to keep getting bigger and keep getting faster too because I want to play. I don't want to just be another number. I want to get out on that field in front of 100,000+. Ain't no feeling like that!"
Patilla had much more to say, the highlights of which appear below.
On Michigan State:
"I was supposed to go to Michigan State's camp July 10th, but I'm going to go ahead and get that money back and go shopping."
On lifting weights:
"I'm in the weight room everyday at 10:30 faithfully. I'm maxing 325."
On teammate and friend Ahmad Rashad:
"I'm going to try to call him tonight. I think the Michigan track team has offered him. I'm going to call him tonight and try to beat some sense into him. He could play football too. He could return punts. Nah…he can't do that because he can't catch. He's my boy, but he can't catch a cold in the middle of a lake with ice buckets on his ankles! (laughing) Maybe he could play DB like he does for us."
On playing basketball:
"I did play basketball, but I'm going to have to let my coach know that I'm not going to be able to play anymore. I'm sorry to let him down, but too many freak injuries happen in basketball. I worked too hard to let this go down the drain for something I don't even love to play. I think he'll understand. If he were in my shoes, he would probably do the same thing."