Junior Lineman on Notre Dame's Radar

Matt Patchan of Freedom High School (Tampa, Fla.) demonstrated why he is one of the most sought after offensive linemen in the country last weekend at the U.S. Army National Combine. Patchan got the best of the top defensive linemen prospects and he is interested in the Irish.

Matt Patchan (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) turned in one of the most impressive performances during the U.S. Army junior combine, but he isn't a player that is easily satisfied.

"I was happy with the one-on-one," Patchan responded when asked about his combine performance. "I always work on my technique. I always want it to be perfect; head up, head back, punch and sting them hard. I try to stop them at the line. A couple times a bigger guy got underneath me and pushed me back a little bit, but if I had dug in I could have swatted his hand down and he would have gone down. That's what I should have done, but we didn't have the pads on so it was a little different.

"My [combine] times were okay. I ran a 4.81 in the forty. I ran a 4.47 in the shuttle. I had a 32-inch vertical jump, and I bench pressed 185 pounds 25 times. We only had two or three weeks to train for it and the conditions weren't the best. I was hoping to run a 4.7 forty. Overall my times were okay, but I don't like to judge my speed with the offensive linemen, I like to compare myself against the linebackers."

As a sophomore Matt was named MVP of a national freshmen-sophomore combine and this past summer he attended a combine at the University of Georgia. That experience paid off last weekend as he was named second team for the U.S. Army National Combine.

Patchan is dedicated to honing his skills. In addition to attending combines, he has also participated in the University of Miami summer football camp.

"I went to the University of Miami camp last year," Patchan explained. "My dad played for the Hurricanes ('85-'88), so he knew coach (Art) Kehoe and coach (Mario) Cristobal.

"I don't want people to get the impression that I'm going to Miami just because my dad went there though. I'm still open. Right now I don't know where I'm going. I'm going to keep everything open and I want to visit some of these campuses unofficially and then I'll pick five that I wan to visit officially.

"I want to get to know the campuses and see which ones I like the best and which college I like the best," he said. "I want to make the decision that's best for me; the place that's going to make me the best player and give a chance to play for the national championship."

"My dad was born as raised in Pittsburgh and I was born in Pittsburgh. I've been in Tampa for six years now, so location doesn't make a difference to me. If it's the best school for me it doesn't matter what the location is, I'm considering everything."

That will be good news to all the colleges recruiting Patchan, because he has teams from every corner of the country attempting to get his attention.

"I've been receiving mail from just about everybody," Matt explained. "I've gotten a few things from Notre Dame, but not near as much as I'd like. I haven't been up there and I haven't talked to the coaches from Notre Dame, but from what I know about the tradition and the history, I like them. Obviously whoever plays there is lucky because they're a powerhouse and they're always going to be good.

"Notre Dame has a great tradition. It's one of the best in college football. Charlie Weis is a good coach. I watched them on TV throughout the season and they have a good team. I like Jeff Samardzija, Sam Young and Brady Quinn. I like Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a good team and a good school.

While Patchan is waiting for the Irish to offer him a scholarship, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Stanford, Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State have already offered him. Most of Matt's scholarship offers are for offensive line, but there are teams that would like him to play defense.

"I want to play both sides of the ball in college," Matt said. "Most teams are recruiting me as an offensive tackle first and then a couple of them, Alabama and Georgia, are recruiting primarily as a defensive lineman. I want to play both ways in college. I want to work my way up to play both ways.

"I played full-time on both sides of the ball [this year]. I only took off one or two series the whole game. Those were usually on defense because we had a better defensive line than we did an offensive line.

"On defense, I played nose tackle and defensive end," Patchan said. "If we played a team that ran the ball up the middle, they played me at defensive tackle. If we played a passing team, they moved me to defensive end so that I could get to the quarterback. The position I played really depended on who we were playing. I liked them both. I just wanted to play where they needed me."

Besides being a standout on the football field, Patchan also excels in the classroom.

"In Florida if you score high enough on a standardized test they let you take the SAT early and I scored a 1040 on the SAT in seventh grade. I haven't taken it since then, but I'll take again January 28. My g.p.a. is 3.4."

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