Jamal-Rashad Patterson's Chance

He's been a largely unknown figure the past four years, shrouded in sideline mystery, recognized for his potential, and perhaps best known for his emphatic involvement in a midfield melee before the 2010 Big Game. Now, he gets his big opportunity.

In the wake of Ty Montgomery's apparent knee injury, senior Jamal-Rashad Patterson is listed as one of Stanford's starting wide receivers for Saturday's showdown at Notre Dame. The Georgian, who made two critical catches against Arizona, is expected to have a significant role in the effort to score against Notre Dame's stout defense. While the Irish front seven is excellent, their injury-thinned secondary is a question mark. Good receiver play may be a sure way for Stanford to loosen up the box for its running game.

The six-foot-three, 208-pound senior, who's never seized significant playing time and who entered this year with only nine career catches, says he's ready to deliver the consistent production that Stanford fans have been longing for. A season sprinting for the Cardinal track and field team has allowed Patterson to rediscover the explosive speed that has slightly eroded over his time on The Farm.

"[Track] helped tremendously. I've leaned out, so I get a faster twitch off the ball," he says. "I have more immediate speed."

That velocity was on display this past Saturday, when Patterson raced downfield to haul in his career-long reception, a lofty 54-yard bomb from Josh Nunes that set up a Stanford touchdown. At the time, that play accounted for over 28 percent of Patterson's career offensive production in a Cardinal uniform. But now, with Montgomery likely out for at least one critical game, it's the senior's time to truly shine.

"Anyway I can get the ball, I'm happy," he says. "I want to help the team. I'm very comfortable running down deep balls."

To be sure, David Shaw has receiver options beyond Patterson and Terrell. Tight end Zach Ertz regularly splits out wide, dual threat Kelsey Young can play on the outside, and freshman Kodi Whitfield is expected to develop into a more prominent role. Jordan Pratt and Devon Cajuste are listed as Patterson's back-ups. But having the necessary production come courtesy of Patterson would be doubly rewarding for Stanford, especially considering the relatively untapped potential that has been dangling in front of the program for the past four years.

Shaw noted that Patterson, a former Georgia track state champion, rivals speedsters Montgomery and Young in practice sprints, though No. 88 usually comes out on top. But when asked, Patterson demonstrates smiling confidence in his speed superiority.

"I'm definitely the fastest person on Stanford's offense," he smiles, perhaps challenging his teammates. "And the fastest person on the whole team."

For the Cardinal, it's time to get this guy involved. It's been far too long, and the time for Jamal-Rashad Patterson now seems more right than ever.

One Other Depth Chart Change
Freshman Aziz Shittu has replaced Charlie Hopkins behind Ben Gardner on the two-deep at defensive end. Shittu entered the rotation against Arizona and "did well." Alex Carter is now listed as Stanford's lead kick returner - Montgomery's former spot - while Remound Wright and Young are listed second.

David Lombardi covers Stanford sports for The Bootleg and FOX Sports NEXT. He was the Cardinal football KZSU play-by-play voice for several years. He can also be heard on San Francisco's 95.7 The Game. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @davidmlombardi.

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories