Free safety prospect Nick Patterson, 6-2, 200, is another in a long line of standout players from Hazelwood East, including former Bruin tight end Bryan Fletcher and incoming freshman defensive end Aaron Whittington. With so many previous standouts before him at Hazelwood East, Patterson is flattered to be able to follow in their footsteps. "We haven't won State since 1996, and they had like nine players go D-1 (including Bryan Fletcher and former Wisconsin cornerback Jamar Fletcher) that year. I used to go to all of their games when I was younger. To be mentioned in the same breath as them is great, and I want to go out a winner like they did."
The attention that UCLA has paid to the Missouri high school seems like it is again paying dividends in recruiting. Patterson said, "Right now I would say UCLA and Notre Dame are my two leaders, with Missouri and Vanderbilt right behind them."
Patterson is an excellent student, with a 4.3 GPA and a 25 on his ACT, making him fully qualified. It's also the reason that UCLA and Notre Dame, two schools with strong academic reputations, are the current frontrunners. "I don't have to worry about trying to get qualified," he said with a laugh. "My mom has always told me how important school is, and that's why her favorites are UCLA, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, since they are all good schools."
In fact, his mom and her emphasis on academics kept Patterson from attending the recent Nike Camp at Texas A&M. Patterson had planned on attending the camp, but was also scheduled to take the SAT that day. So he instead will attend the Nike Camp at Virginia Tech this weekend for a chance to show his stuff. "I wanted to go to the one at College Station, but my mom wanted me to take my SATs that day," Patterson said. "I am really looking forward to going out to Virginia and prove myself."
With his teammate, Aaron Whittington departing for UCLA soon, Patterson said watching Whittington go through the process of choosing UCLA has influenced him. "I know at first he was worried about going all the way out there," he said. "But he wants a change, and its on the West Coast. Our weather here is crazy, and I wouldn't mind going out there either. He is talking to me, telling me to come out there with him."
Patterson's uncle and grandfather both live in Bellflower, California, giving him family close to UCLA. Patterson said his parents intend to move to wherever he goes to school, also, to be close to him and be able to watch him play.
He is currently being recruited by UCLA assistant coach Jeff Schneider, who has come by campus, and is getting letters from Head Coach Karl Dorrell as well.