If you hear someone say they run 10.9 in the 100m, you are thinking to yourself that this is good speed and just based on that, you figure could be effective at a number of positions. Then you realize that this track speed finds itself attached to a 6 foot, 3 inch, 230 linebacker.
A feeling of being impressed turns into jaw-dropping amazement.
That's Tana (Tuh-Nay) Patrick, and as you might guess his list of offers is long and getting longer and comprised of some of the elite:
Of the attention, even though Patrick got his first offer from Auburn the first day of September his junior year, that being the first allowable date to offer kids in writing according to NCAA rules, his list of offers as of right now comes as a surprise.
"I didn't think about it. I just played. I guess I really didn't think too much about recruiting then," Patrick said. "But even when everyone started talking about it as I was getting more offers, I thought this was a pretty good deal."
That flurry of attention which has grown into a deluge of sorts, comes by the way of Patrick's athleticism –yes, but like any self-respecting linebacker he's got a little attitude as well. It's that one where if you get a chance at a ball-carrier in the open-field, you make the most of it. For Tana, though, each moment is hard to put into words. "it's hard to describe. I really don't know how to put it. It's this rush when you know you are about to put it on someone like that," he said. "It's part excitement and just wanting to hit the guy as hard as you can."
With Patrick's size and speed, you can imagine when he hits, hard is all it's ever going to be.
"I remember it was the playoffs last year, and the quarterback was running the option to the right side, and I guess he just didn't see me," he said. "It was the perfect hit. You don't really even feel it when it happens.
"He didn't get up for awhile."
With Patrick's measurable, the offer list which hits around the 15-team mark currently, is expected to grow considerably before even his senior season begins. It's nothing to Patrick, though, as he doesn't worry about learning everything about these teams now, because his decision is a long time coming. "I plan on making my decision on signing day," Patrick said. "I just talk with the coaches or whoever right now and that's about it. I want to get to some camps or combines, but this was my first year running track, and that has kept me from being able to go to any of those things."
When it comes to the Huskers, this southern-bred youngster doesn't know much about them other than who their new head coach happens to be. "I met him at an LSU camp a couple of years ago. I don't really remember all that much," Patrick said of first-year Husker head coach Bo Pelini, who was the defensive coordinator for last year's National Championship LSU team. "But I am not ruling any team out. I don't care about weather. I don't care about location. I just want to get a good education and go to a place which fits me the best."
The Stevenson, Alabama native has obviously visited the in-state powers, Auburn and Alabama, unofficially. But with track, he isn't sure whether he can make any more visits over the off-season or if he can, where they might go.
It's just running the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and competing in the long jump for this first-year track participant. And oh yeah, he wants to better his 10.9. "Yeah, I'd like to get that down. I don't know to what. Like I said, it's my first year doing this, because I just wanted something else to do. I guess we'll have to see how it goes," he said.
As to any favorites, the answer is probably obvious at this point. "No favorites right now. I know everyone thinks I'll stay in-state, but that's not how it will work with me," he said. "It's how I get along with the coaches and how I get along with the players.
"I don't know where that will be. That's what I am going to try and find out."
2007 BIO: Patrick holds several North Jackson career, season, and game receiving records and caught 15 passes from his tight end position in 2007, with 399 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had 72 tackles, two quarterback sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries on defense.
Patrick was again named ASWA All-State First Team 4A WR/TE his junior season 2007.
Patrick's career stats (through 2007) total 54 catches for 1,505 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 27.9 yards per catch. Patrick has 196 career tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries.