Patterson, who starred at both offensive tackle and defensive tackle for Roanoke Rapids (N.C.), has placed an emphasis on playing time – particularly early playing time.
"I'm hoping to see the field early," Patterson said. "With a new coaching staff, you never know. Everybody is competing for a spot. I don't really feel like the seniors are top dogs with the new coaching staff – they are going to have to prove themselves. I think I'm going to hit the field pretty early, because I'm kind of a big guy and I'm stronger than the average [incoming freshman]."
Patterson certainly has the size to garner early playing time. He most recently tipped the scales at 331 pounds.
In an effort to get down into the 320-pound range on his 6-foot-4 frame, Patterson has been following the workout regimen UNC sends its signees. On Wednesdays, which are rest days according to UNC's workout, Patterson does his own lifting routine.
"When I first started doing it, my weight started to go down," Patterson said. "But then I started to build back up that muscle. I want to still be strong, but still be good on my feet."
During the spring sports season, which ended a few weeks back for Patterson, he competed in the shot put for the Roanoke Rapids track and field team. He placed second in the Northern Carolina Conference Meet, losing to a shot putter who will continue his career on a collegiate track and field scholarship. Patterson's personal best put was 44 feet.
Although he still speaks every once in a while with UNC assistant coach Chris Kapilovic, Patterson's most recent communication with UNC has been through its academic support staff.
"We're just talking back and forth making sure they have everything they need for summer classes," Patterson said.
Patterson, who says he has been cleared by UNC admissions and the NCAA Clearinghouse, will enroll in the second summer semester.
Patterson's high school jersey number, No. 78, is worn by red-shirt freshman offensive guard Landon Turner. Nonetheless, the number he ends up sporting for UNC is irrelevant to him.
"There's actually no particular number that I want," Patterson said. "If they give me a choice, then so be it. But a number is a number – it doesn't determine how you play."