Talk about closing strong.
Ole Miss, looking to finish out the 2014 season in memorable fashion, got a head start on Thursday, picking up a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Javon Patterson. Patterson, of Petal, Miss., chose the Rebels over Auburn and Mississippi State during a ceremony at his school.
“It basically came down to where I felt most at home,” Patterson said. “I’ve always had that feeling when I’m at Ole Miss. My relationship with (Ole Miss head) coach (Hugh) Freeze and (offensive line) coach (Matt) Luke was also a big factor. They’re great people, great encouragers and they’re great coaches. I like the way they took the initiative with me.
“It feels great. It's been a long, tough process, especially with schools looking at you when you're a ninth grader. It's a great feeling to finally get it accomplished. The hard work with the coaches, the grades and everything. It just feels great.”
Patterson is rated the No. 86 overall prospect by Scout.com and the No. 7 guard.
He becomes Ole Miss’ 14th pledge for the 2015 class and its sixth four-star, joining an offensive line class already boasting decorated Memphis, Tenn., offensive tackle Drew Richmond and Nashville, Tenn., and three-star offensive lineman Alex Givens.
“I’m excited for Javon,” Petal high school head coach Marcus Boyles said. “I know this has been a long, hard process. He grew up an Ole Miss fan, but when he through the recruiting process, some other colleges turned his head and made him take a look, and that’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day, I think he went with where his heart has told him to go all along.”
The 6-foot-3, 313-pound Patterson has been a frequent visitor to Ole Miss over the last two years. He most recently attended the Rebels 35-31 loss to Auburn three weeks ago.
Ole Miss is 8-2 overall on the season and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels have games at Arkansas and against Mississippi State remaining, with kickoff for their meeting with the Razorbacks scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT Saturday on CBS.
“I want to get faster and get better,” Patterson said in a previous interview with Scout.com. “I want to be the best I can be. It's important as you're developing to keep everything in front of you and keep moving ahead. I want to improve on my grades too. I have good grades now, but I can do better. I can do better in everything.”
Patterson was recently named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a game featuring the nation’s top 90 high school football players and scheduled for a national broadcast on NBC Jan. 3 in San Antonio, Texas.
“Patterson is a tackle in high school, but a move to guard is likely on the next level,” Chad Simmons, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, said. “He has good feet and he can move in space, but his size/frame is part of the interior OL projection. He can get to the second level and looks good on the move. He shows good balance and he is a natural bender. He can play high at times. His technique will improve on the next level as will his strength. He has the nasty streak you like.”
Prior to his commitment to Ole Miss, Patterson received additional attention from, among others, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and North Carolina. He said he has already signed his financial papers with Ole Miss and will report to campus for the first day of class in January.
“My decision is 100 percent,” he said. “Going in early is something I wanted to do. I’m going to be there in two months, so that’s a short amount of time, but I think going in early will give me an edge going into learn the offense and compete for a spot.”