BUFFALO, N.Y.. – As his college football team competed for the championship, Jareth Patterson watched from the sidelines as a 7-year-old girl’s legs dangled over a silver metal bench.
Patterson barely saw the field for the Bowie Bulldogs at Maryland – he had the cleanest form on the team, as his mother, Janine, says.
But after that 2007 championship game, he got a valuable message from Janine that propelled him to three record-breaking seasons at the University at Buffalo 13 years later.
Instead of celebrating with the rest of the guys, I sat in the corner and tore it up, Patterson said. She saw me and didn’t want me to feel sorry for myself. She told me sternly that I wasn’t good enough yet and that I had to earn it. I will never forget the words she said to me along the way, they changed the way I approached this game.
If you followed college football during the 2020 sports season, you’ve probably heard of Patterson.
In six games, Buffalo, a 6-foot-7, 195-pound running back, has scored 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns. That includes a 409-yard rushing game and a record number of touchdowns against Kent State on the 28th. November.
He was at his best in his first three seasons of college football, when Ray Rice ran for Rutgers for 4,926 (2005-07). Patterson, the 2020 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and second-team All-American, left Buffalo as the school’s leader in yards and touchdowns in a season, and second behind former NFL running back Branden Oliver.
Patterson’s accolades are easy to come by, but with less than a month to go until the 2021 NFL season (April 29-May 1 in Cleveland on ESPN and ESPN App), the hype around him has been minimal.
Some analysts acknowledge his accomplishments in Buffalo, but doubt his ability to be a leader in the NFL.
A fifth- or sixth-round pick [teams bring in] a productive, hard-working and likely No. 2 back, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said of Patterson, who ran for 40 yards in 4.51 seconds at Pro Day in Buffalo on the 18th. Mars ran. By the middle of the third day, I think it will be off the board.
Patterson has heard opponents at almost every stage of his career since he started in junior football. He plans to add his latest opponents to the list of those who were wrong.
Jareth had always neglected… That’s been his mindset since he was a kid, Janine says. The next trip will be great for him because he will surprise many people.
You are either the most improved or the MVP.
Jareth and his twin brother James were destined to become athletes. I don’t mean to ridicule them, but when your dad, Tracy, achieved local legend status as a running back and linebacker in high school, and your mom was a state champion in track and field, people have expectations. The Twins played football before switching to soccer, and none of them were immediate starters.
Jaret Patterson, the 2020 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, should have earned playing time at every level, starting with his junior football days with the Bowie Bulldogs in Bowie, Md. Thanks to Jereth Patterson.
James got his first chance at linebacker when a teammate forgot his helmet. He made himself dangerous in his first game and never left the starting lineup; Jaret stayed out and got some tough love from Jeanine after the season. And she had more than wise words for her disappointed son. She had also put together a training plan for the summer.
Both Pattersons, 21, still laugh when they talk about those summer workouts. They accompanied their older sisters, Jenna and Jana, to practice in the humid Maryland weather – always outside in the afternoon, because Jenna wanted her girls to be ready for the hot gymnasiums they will play in during the upcoming AAU basketball season.
It wasn’t fun, but if Jareth wanted to play, he had to earn it.
I taught them that. You’re either the best doctor or the best doctor, Janine said. If you want to be good, you have to work.
Baltimore High School Principal Jeanine has a history of bringing out the best in kids who need a boost.
My mother has that fire. You can say we get it from there, Jareth said.
In the fall of 2016, Jaret grew into a star running back at St. Louis. St. Joseph’s High School. Vincent Pallotti in Laurel, Maryland, who passed the 2,000-year mark as an alumnus. A two-star recruit, he struggled during the process, more so than his more recruited brother. James, a 6-foot-5 linebacker, has received offers from schools like Florida Atlantic and UCF. Jaret had 11 offers, according to Rivals.com, but he felt overlooked in the crowd.
I had to work. I wasn’t that guy. There were always guys better than me, faster than me, bigger than me, Jareth says. I only used it for fuel, even in high school, but not as much as I thought I would.
Where it all began… pic.twitter.com/sehHsrrk7
– Jarrett Patterson (@__JP26) 14. March 2021
I’ve heard it all from the coaches – ACC, SEC, Big Ten – you’re a good player but you’re not what we’re looking for or you’re a good player but too small. Things like this have convinced me to bow my head and show you guys what you’re missing.
He got his first real taste of recruiting on a trip to Eastern Michigan with his brother and some teammates.
Jareth treated it like a business trip. He dressed professionally (as if he were applying for a job) and was confident that he would receive his first scholarship offer. They didn’t even have badges when he arrived. Eastern Michigan offered James a scholarship, but declined to meet with Jarrett.
Blinded by doubt, Jareth leaves the group and cries in the bathroom before his brother finds him. Like Janine had done after her junior football game, James reminded Jareth that it was just a motivator.
I told him to understand that [his offers] were coming, James said. Sometimes he felt like he wasn’t doing his best, but I, as his brother, and our like-minded friends, couldn’t let him down.
I’m not here to play.
Even after accepting a scholarship to Buffalo, Jarrett had to wait to see the field. Or even on campus, for that matter. Buffalo coach Lance Leipold approached Jaret with an offer: gray jersey (wait an extra semester after next season to become a full-time student) and join the team for spring training in 2018.
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Jareth agreed, but he had to swallow his pride. James generously offered to wear the gray shirt with him, and they spent the fall of 2017 training at their alma mater, St. Louis. Vincent Pallotti.
It was really humbling when you graduate from high school and you have friends going off to college, but you’re still at home, Jareth said. And they ask you: You’re not going to college? It’s a little frustrating.
The Patterson brothers took good advantage of that by training with their former high school strength coach, Ed Page, during their six months in Maryland. It was a strict schedule, not unlike what their mother had imposed on them as children.
They arrive at school in the afternoon and work out with a combination of strength training, speed and acceleration, training and conditioning, and then continue to practice when the football team’s practice starts. Every day, Monday to Friday, for six months. The brothers said the experience had inspired them to make a difference once they were on campus in Buffalo.
James earned the starting job at linebacker at the end of spring camp in 2018. But Jareth ran with a third and fourth team – although he had the coaches’ attention almost from the moment he arrived.
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In the years I’ve been coaching, the common denominator of guys who end up playing in [the NFL] is that their coaching skills have never been in question, Buffalo offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said. You could have seen this with Jareth.
Kotelnicki said Jaret’s ability to make people miss was striking in his first spring with the team, and Jaret was never disappointed when he had to work in a crowded running back room.
Jaret had such a low status that quarterback Tyree Jackson, then in Buffalo, wouldn’t let the rookie walk with him in practice. But Jareth’s desire to play simmers so much that he approaches Leipold after the Army game in Week 5 of the 2018 season and asks for a role.
I had to show the coaches that I was a playmaker, a guy. I’m not here to play, Jareth said. I just told him: I’m not here to complain. I just want to do my part.
Jaret got his first start the following week, where he ran for 121 yards and a touchdown in the win over Central Michigan. He finished the season with 1,013 yards and 14 touchdowns, becoming the first rookie in Buffalo history to reach 1,000 yards. In the 2019 season, Jaret ran for a school-record 1,799 yards and solidified his reputation as one of the best players in college football.
Practitioner is already busy
Coaches who compare their current players to former players are often biased, and Leipold is well aware of that. But that doesn’t stop him from praising Patterson.
Jaret Patterson averaged 6.1 yards per carry in three college seasons and ran for 52 touchdowns. Bob Karp on IMAGN
Like I always say: Don’t bet against Jaret Patterson, he said. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a more complete player in terms of activity. And I mean, watch the movie, take care of your body. This year he was in the training room three times a day.
He is already a professional in his approach.
Kotelnicki says Patterson prides himself on the little things, like blocking when his number doesn’t ring.
He said he had a lot of movies about how he did it. Of course, people in the NFL watch this and say: That’s the kind of man we’re looking for.
Leipold called Patterson the best coach he has ever coached, and he had an example ready to back up his statement.
Buffalo beat Bowling Green by 17. November by a score of 41-17. Patterson ran for 301 yards and four TDs on 31 runs. At the team’s next practice, about 36 hours later, Patterson came onto the field to take the kickoff.
No return fire. Cover.
He just ran for 300 yards and is working on the fundamentals of covering punts, Leipold said. Because he knows that if he has a chance to play at the next level, he has to cover the moves. That’s the kind of guy he is.
He wants to be part of the team. Would he take a high road? Absolutely. But he knows that if he doesn’t, he’ll have to do whatever it takes to get the team to this level.
I think he loves herI think he loves her
Buffalo’s loss in the MAC title fight left a bad taste in Jaret’s mouth at the end of the 2020 season, enough for him to consider a return for another season.
Former Buffalo running back Jarrett Patterson is known for his play on the field, but coaches say it’s his coaching skills that set him apart from his peers (Marcel Louis-Jacques video).
James, who had hardly spent a minute without his brother since birth, was one of the strongest opponents of this decision and advised Jareth to stretch his life as much as possible. Jareth also spoke with Oliver and said former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush gave him good advice. After all, it was Jareth’s decision to go pro.
It was hard because I could see myself in both directions, Jareth says. I just listen to my family and weigh my options. …. I think this is a good time to make a statement.
Before leaving Buffalo, Jarrett and Leipold discussed their draft results, which ranged from the 3rd to 7th round. None of this matters to Jareth, he just wants to be there.
My mindset is that it’s not about how you get into the NFL, it’s about how you stay there, he said. … You can be first or second and still be eliminated.
Jarrett said NFL teams want to know three things: Can he catch, can he follow routes, and where will his straight-line speed be highest?
– Jarrett Patterson (@__JP26) 9. March 2021
Jarrett hasn’t been a big part of Buffalo’s passing game, with 20 catches in his first two seasons. Since his announcement, he has been training in Florida with other NFL prospects like North Carolina’s Michael Carter and Louisville’s Javian Hawkins, but he spends little to no time with the running backs. He concentrated on receiving drills, route refinement, release and hand shooting.
Jarrett compared his play to former running backs Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice and Barry Sanders, and Leipold’s assessment isn’t that far off.
He stands out for his ability to force people to make mistakes and then speed them up, Leipold said. He has a lot of patience, he has excellent vision. People will talk about [his straight line speed], but if you look at the NFL, how many run like that? People need a productive garden early in life. He did it better than anyone.
According to Kotelnicki, Jaret stands out from most running backs – or football players in general – because of his ability to change direction quickly.
He said he had an innate ability to go from 60 to 0 and then back to 60 very quickly. Many people, when they change direction, have a huge drop in speed, but not Jaret. These are the things that make it very difficult.
Jaret is willing to play any role, even if it means going from the bottom to the top; after all, it’s his profession.
A lot of people still doubt him, and I think he likes that, James said. I think it’s funny he’s like that: Oh, yeah? Would you say that? You’ll see.
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