With a Name Like Patton

Following the 2009 season, the Midshipmen dipped into the Volunteer State in hopes of striking recruiting gold in Blackman linebacker Josh Patton. While the Murfreesboro native has since left the team, another potential diamond in the rough has since caught the attention of Navy's staff; and he has a very familiar name.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 210 pounds, senior linebacker Jess Patton looks like the spitting image of his brother, Josh, who similarly stood out on the prep field of Blackman High School as a senior during the 2008 season. Following his prep career, the elder Patton brother signed on to join Ken Niumatalolo's Navy team, passing up numerous wrestling scholarship opportunities to be a part of "The Brotherhood." 2009 was another banner year for a Patton at Blackman, but this time it was Jess Patton who led the charge. Helping to lead the Blaze to a 10-2 record and a district championship, the younger Patton brother blazed his own path last season, and was named to both All-District and All-Region teams after finishing with 109 total tackles and four sacks. An aggressive player off the edge, Patton looks equally as comfortable filling the inside gaps as he does in pursuing ballcarriers on the perimeter.

Needless to say, his play during his junior year at Blackman has certainly attracted interest from a host of Division 1 programs. Drawn to his high-intensity style of play as well as his efforts in the classroom (He sports a 27 ACT score and 3.7 GPA), universities ranging from the Ivy League to the SEC have established contact with Jess. One school which has come calling on Patton is Navy. GoMids.com recently caught up with the soon-to-be high school senior, and got the lowdown on his summer plans and recruiting outlook.

GoMids: What kind of interest have you received from Division I football programs? Which schools are recruiting you right now and which schools have offered you scholarships?

Jess Patton: Princeton and Brown have said they want me. The schools that have actually been to my high school or to spring practice to see me or who have called my coach about me (after seeing my video) are Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, Furman, Vanderbilt, Arkansas State, Notre Dame, Western Kentucky, Ga. Tech, Air Force and a few others. Other schools that I have heard from are Navy, Princeton, Brown, Harvard, Presbyterian College and Miami of Ohio.

GoMids: So Navy is recruiting you? Which assistant coach is handling your recruitment and what are you hearing from their staff?

Jess Patton: Coach Ingram is recruiting this area and he said he really liked my highlight video and would be in touch with me and that he gave my video to the linebacker coach [at Navy]. Coach Ingram was a great recruiter with Josh so I am looking forward to getting to know him.

GoMids: What is the main thing you are looking for in a school? Which schools are your favorites right now?

Jess Patton: Great academics first and great football too. I'm not sure I have an absolute favorite as of now…I am just trying to enjoy the process and see where the Lord wants me to go. Navy, Furman, Vandy, Air Force, and Princeton (in no particular order) are my favorites because they have both great academics and good football.

GoMids: Your brother, Josh, was quite a high school football star in his own right, and went on to attend the Academy after high school. What have you learned from his experience at Navy? Has he given you any advice when it comes to both the academic and military components of the Academy, as well as the challenge of playing Division I football?

Jess Patton: Josh has really loved his time at the Naval Academy and he says it's tough with school, the military and playing a sport but that it is very rewarding too. He has said that the key is to learn to use your time well during each day and to take advantage of all the resources available to you athletically, spiritually and academically. Josh actually quit the football team after spring ball and is going to wrestle at Navy. He was a nationally ranked wrestler by USA Wrestling for two years and was offered many Division 1 scholarships in high school but decided that he wanted to play football instead. He has talked to Coach Ken and he was very gracious to Josh and the wrestling coach is excited to have Josh. He will wrestle 197lbs.

GoMids: What do you think are your greatest strengths on the field? Which part(s) of your game would you like to improve in?

Jess Patton: My greatest strengths are my speed and intensity. Also studying the opponent so I can read and see the play and then react. I love coming off the edge to make the big play, and I can make plays from sideline to sideline. Areas to improve? I want to continue to gain weight (I'm at 210lbs now) so I can improve on my explosiveness at contact and continue to get off blocks better.

GoMids: Are you participating in any combines/camps this summer? Which ones?

Jess Patton: I am going to several camps and a rivals combine -- but I'm not sure of which ones yet. My dad is working on that now.

GoMids: What are your goals coming out of your junior season and heading into your senior year?

Jess Patton:: My number one goal is to be a leader with integrity on and off the field and to help my team win a state championship. [I want] to do everything the right way with the right attitude and if I do that, every other goal will fall in place. The easy part is playing on Friday nights. The hard part is getting ready to play on Friday nights, and I want to enjoy the process of hard work [during the week] so that on Friday's I'll be able to cut loose. Sure, I want to play at the next level but I really do think my play on Friday's will determine that so I'm trying to focus on that right now.

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