The Michigan Wolverines entered the 2008 football season with two wide receiver commitments firmly in tow… or so it seemed. Minneapolis (MN) Breck standout Bryce McNeal and Grand Prairie (TX) wideout Dewayne Peace were both summer pledges to the Maize & Blue, but early in the fall things changed. Other suitors were able to move in and secure visits. For Rich Rodriguez, each situation likely stood as reminder of the mantra he uttered numerous times in the offseason; "recruit until the bell."
It's clear that Michigan plans to just that not only with McNeal and Peace, but also with a few youngsters that had previously taken themselves out of rotation with verbals to other schools. One option that reemerged on the Wolverines radar recently was McDonough, Ga WR Jamal Patterson. The 6-2, 203-pounder was being courted by Michigan back in the summer, but things cooled in the weeks leading up to his late August commitment to Stanford. Now they have apparently heated up again.
"I've been talking to Michigan," Patterson reported. "I'd say it started two weeks ago. It was (assistant) Coach Jay Hopson."
"I'll take an official visit to Michigan on December 9th," he said. "It's the tradition and everything. They play great football there and I know there is a great tradition of wide receivers coming out of there."
It's clear from his 4.5 GPA, 26 on the ACT, and initial Stanford pledge that academics will be a major factor in Patterson's ultimate decision. At the same time, it is clear that distance from home will not. Will weather?
"It gets cold in Georgia too," he replied when asked whether Michigan winters would be a negative factor. "It's cold here now. Plus when you're playing it heats up that cold air."
Whether Michigan, or any other school for that matter, will be able to wrestle Patterson away from former Wolverine and current Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh remains to be seen. The Peach State star readily admits that Stanford is still his most likely destination. That said, his dalliance with other schools is largely precautionary and he refuses to shut his recruiting process down without a thoroughly vetted contingency plan.
"With Stanford, they have that admissions piece and you can't be too sure with that," he explained. "I didn't want to not get admitted and then have thrown the other schools out of the way. I wanted to keep up the relationships with the other schools. Now I've been admitted. Hopefully the coaching staff will still be there. I've heard that there is a lot of interest (from college and pro teams) in them. It's a young staff and everything, but I don't think they're going anywhere."
Assuming all of the familiar faces remain in Palo Alto, Patterson is still interested comparing and contrasting the programs to ensure made the best selection possible. When researching them, there is very specific criteria that he pays special attention to.
"I'm looking for a family atmosphere," Patterson stated. "I want to have a real close bond with the coaching staff where we all really know each other."
He will know more about how well Michigan meets his standards in a few weeks. In the meantime he plans to focus on helping his high school team march through the playoffs.
"The season is going good," said Patterson. My stats are 40 catches for 855 yards and nine TDs. We won our region two Fridays ago. That made it back to back seasons with a regional title. We went 9-1 and we start the first round this Friday."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Patterson in the coming weeks.