April 29, 2008

As usual, Patterson's wide open

MACON, Miss. _ Patrick Patterson isn't bothered that his coaches and teammates are guessing which school he will end up signing with in February.

The physical wide receiver from Noxubee County High School is as interested in their predictions as anyone. Just don't put much stock in them right now. Patterson says that would be a mistake.

"I don't have any leaders," Patterson said when told that his teammate, defensive end Deontae Skinner said Monday that Patterson favored Mississippi State. "I'm pretty much wide open."

Noxubee County opened spring drills Monday, though Patterson missed the practice to participate in a track meet in Pearl, Miss. Patterson finished second in the high jump and his 4-X-200-meter relay team finished third. Mississippi State's coaches were at his school on Monday and he's run into the Southern Mississippi coaches on the road. Ole Miss, Alabama and Clemson are the other schools at the top of Patterson's list at this point.

Patterson said Alabama coaches are telling him they're "going to pass the ball more often." Clemson, meanwhile, is a bit of a childhood favorite. Ole Miss, Patterson said, is "in between Alabama and Clemson, about the same as Mississippi State."

Patterson said he's going to camp at Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama and Southern California this summer. The Trojans and Notre Dame have shown increased interest recently, though neither has offered. Should they, Patterson said, he's not afraid to go far from his home in north Mississippi.

"I believe I'd take that trip," Patterson said. "I'm not too worried about going to school close to home. I'm just checking out facilities and checking out the coaches' personalities. I'm looking for coaches with a good personality, guys who are cool who I could sit down and talk to about anything."

Skinner said Monday that he and Patterson have talked about going to the same school next fall, providing some lucky program quite the package deal. Skinner is ranked No. 6 on the RebelSports.net Preseason Mississippi Top 25. Patterson is ranked No. 3 on the same list.

"It doesn't matter," Patterson said. "We're really good friends. It would be nice to go to the same program."

Patterson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder with 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, caught 72 passes last season for 1,424 yards.

"His attitude separates him," Noxubee County coach Malcolm Miller said. "He's got everything going for him. He's a Randy Moss-type receiver. All you have to do is throw it in his direction. He'll go get it. Patterson is a runner. We run him on the wing and on all of our reverses and he's our backup quarterback also. Really, he can just catch it. He'll run over you to get it."

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