IN THE HUDDLE: Melvin Patterson

Hidden outside of Gainesville, in the shadow of the University of Florida, could be one of the most complete receivers in the state of Florida this season. With enough size and athletic ability to make a major impact, here is one player you want to keep an eye on!

During the spring and into the summer, www.floridakids.us will bring you our IN THE HUDDLE segments with football players throughout the state of Florida.

These are similar to the evaluations we pass on to the hundreds of colleges who visit our website, call us on the phone and correspond via e-mail.

Here is another top football player to keep an eye on this season – and beyond.

PLAYER: Melvin Patterson
POSITION: WR
SCHOOL: Alachua Santa Fe
HEIGHT: 6-3
WEIGHT: 205
40 SPEED: 4.5
HEAD COACH: Scott Pritchett
www.floridakids.us Pre-Spring Rating: Not rated

Before the start of spring practice, I got a call from John Patton of the Gainesville Sun Newspaper. Each year, Patton will talk about area players who he believes will be something special for me to watch.

While I hadn't watched Patterson play live, I did have three films that I viewed, and although I was impressed with his size and ability to play the game, I wasn't totally sold, further illustrating that film is just an enhancement and should NEVER be the reason you like or don't like a particular athletes.

Any way, at Patton's urging, I had the opportunity to see Patterson at a combine at the University of Florida in April, prior to the opening of the month of spring practice, and he sold me – even on a rainy field in a short period of time.

It has gotten to the point where I can watch an athlete for a few minutes and have a very good idea what he's capable of doing. With Patterson, it was simply watch him run a few patterns, go through agility drills and observe the things he did well.

First of all, when you have the size, like he does, if you can run a bit, have decent hands and show that you are willing to learn as much as possible about the position, colleges will jump on your bandwagon. Display a positive attitude and have good grades in the classroom and you simply can call your own shots!

STRENGTHS: When you can catch 35 balls and turn those reception into 700 plus yards, you quickly jump on the radar as someone who can and will make things happen after making the catch.

The main thing I noticed about Patterson, watching him go through his workouts and drills is ability to adjust in the air for the ball. He also runs off the defensive back very well and provides enough cushion to make it possible for him to do something with the ball after bringing it in. I did notice that from one of the game tapes I watched.

You can always try and teach a receiver how to catch the ball, but when you have someone who already knows how to bring the ball in, change arms while running with it and has the instincts to make a play out of nothing, you get the attention of tremendous defensive backs as well as college recruiters and coaches who get paid to look for those positive qualities in a player.

The other part of his game that I was bowled over by was his outstanding athletic ability. Being a basketball player and track athlete, Patterson spent much of his ninth and 10th grade season learning the run-oriented offense the Raiders ran. Last year, his patients and positive attitude paid off.

WHAT HE NEEDS TO WORK ON: While it's not totally fair to judge from a few films and only watching in a combine setting, his route running needs to be crisper. Right now, he is doing a lot off athletic ability and instinct alone. At the next level, he will come against physical, quick corners and safeties who he will need to shake loose from. But like I said, watching him in the fall, will be essential to see what he does in his final season at the high school level.

OVERALL: As I say every year, here is yet another football player who was hidden because of the offense his team ran, but found a way to emerge last season and become one of the top receiving prospects in the nation.

COLLEGES ON THE HORIZON: While growing up in the shadows of the University of Florida certainly gives the Gators a huge advantage in the new wide open offense that Urban Meyer has brought in with him, schools such as Miami, LSU, North Carolina State and the University of South Florida also figure into the mix.

Get IN THE HUDDLE with some more of Florida's emerging stars:
IN THE HUDDLE: CHANCE ATTAWAY – BLOUNTSTOWN
IN THE HUDDLE: GEORGE ROBINSON – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: TIMOTHY BROWN – MIAMI NORTHWESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: XAVIER HARRIS – FORT LAUDERDALE
IN THE HUDDLE: DANIEL LINCOLN – OCALA FOREST
IN THE HUDDLE: PATRICK ADOLPHE – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: QUINTIN HANCOCK – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: CHARLES DEAS – LAUDERDALE LAKES BOYD ANDERSON
IN THE HUDDLE: DONALD BOWENS – ST. PETERSBURG
IN THE HUDDLE: ROBERT LOVE - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: CAZ PIUROWSKI – LAND O'LAKES
IN THE HUDDLE: STERLIN JAMES – SPARR NORTH MARION
IN THE HUDDLE: JOHN WARE – FORT LAUDERDALE CARDINAL GIBBONS
IN THE HUDDLE: MARKEVIOUS POWELL – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: BILLY LOWE - LAKELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: JAVON HILL – MIAMI MONSIGNOR PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: CODY CLINTON – BOCA RATON
IN THE HUDDLE: JARED MARTIN – DAVIE WESTERN
IN THE HUDDLE: COLIN MCCARTHY – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: DONTAE JONES – ORLANDO EVANS
IN THE HUDDLE: DAMON PIFER – GREEN COVE SPRINGS CLAY
IN THE HUDDLE: CHRIS SORCE - PACE
IN THE HUDDLE: SHOMARI GRANT - HIALEAH
IN THE HUDDLE: DARRELL ROSEMAN - DUNEDIN
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES POE – ORLANDO FREEDOM
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN ELLIS – PONTA VEDRA BEACH NEASE
IN THE HUDDLE: COURTNEY JONES: PENSACOLA
IN THE HUDDLE: BRYAN THOMAS - ZEPHYRHILLS
IN THE HUDDLE: JORDAN DALRYMPLE - OVIEDO
IN THE HUDDLE: PRESTON PARKER – DELRAY BEACH ATLANTIC
IN THE HUDDLE: SABBATH JOSEPH – MIAMI CENTRAL
IN THE HUDDLE: RYAN KHAWLY – HOMESTEAD SOUTH DADE
IN THE HUDDLE: BRANDON JAMES – ST. AUGUSTINE
IN THE HUDDLE: KEITH HOUSTON – IVES ESTATES DR. MICHAEL KROP
IN THE HUDDLE: REGGIE ODOM - DELAND
IN THE HUDDLE: C.J. SPILLER – LAKE BUTLER UNION COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RILEY COOPER – CLEARWATER CENTRAL CATHOLIC
IN THE HUDDLE: JAMES JAMISON – STARKE BRADFORD COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: DESMOND GEE - MADISON COUNTY
IN THE HUDDLE: RICKY GARY - PAHOKEE
IN THE HUDDLE: LAURANCE MARIUS – KEY WEST
IN THE HUDDLE: KENRICK ELLIS – GREENACRES JOHN I. LEONARD
IN THE HUDDLE: RICHARD JACKSON – CLERMONT EAST RIDGE
IN THE HUDDLE: LABRANDON GLOVER - PENSACOLA

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