Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from one of the nation's top-rated linebackers when Nashville Christ Presbyterian Academy four-star Kane Patterson pledged his services to the Buckeyes on Monday afternoon.
Let's take a closer look at what Patterson – the No. 194 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 – brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Patterson is a physical, hard-nosed linebacker who loves to rush the quarterback and punish ball carriers. He not only shows tremendous quickness off the snap when asked to attack off the edge, but also displays the ability to read and react to plays while manning the inside position.
Patterson isn’t the fastest prospect, but compensates for that with his awareness, understanding of angles and solid closing speed.
“The biggest thing with Kane is his attitude,” Christ Presbyterian Academy head coach Ingle Martin told Planet Weekly. “He approaches everything he does with the right mindset. He prepares with great intent. He practices with great intent. He plays with great intent. Nothing gets in his way.”
Patterson recorded 64 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and a blocked field goal to lead the Lions to the state semifinals last season. He also rushed for 1,003 yards and 23 touchdowns, which is why some schools were recruiting him as a quarterback or running back.
“You could make the argument that he was the best player on the field in every single game we played last year,” Martin said.
Patterson did not participate in any camps this spring or summer because he’s recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered last season. He should be cleared the play before the start of his senior season, however.
Obviously unable to play this spring, Patterson is also a starting outfielder for CPA’s baseball team. He batted .348 with 24 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, six doubles and three triples for the state runner-up Lions as a sophomore.
Patterson will play in the Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, in January 2019. He’ll be joined by four-star running back commit Steele Chambers.
IN THE CLASS
Patterson becomes the 14th member of Ohio State’s Dynasty ‘19 recruiting class, joining Lexington four-star Cade Stover — and most likely Indiana three-star athlete Craig Young — at the linebacker position. It also remains to be seen if the aforementioned Chambers will play defense at the next level, though his preference certainly is running back.
Chambers, Young and maybe even four-star safety commit “Rocket” Ronnie Hickman, who could continue to bulk up into a linebacker, give the Buckeyes a lot of versatility at the position. While Patterson gives the staff a commitment from a true inside linebacker. Simply put, there’s no uncertainty regarding the position he’ll play in Columbus.
As for a positional breakdown, Ohio State set to lose redshirt senior Dante Booker — while juniors Malik Harrison, Justin Hilliard and Keandre Jones will all be eligible to enter the NFL Draft — following the upcoming season. With a lot of young talent on the roster pushing for playing time, there’s a chance for some unforeseen transfers, as well.
It’s unlikely the staff pursues any other linebackers in the current cycle, but rather will shift their focus to next year instead. That makes sense, too, with Virginia five-star Antoine Sampah, Washington D.C. five-star Mekhail Sherman and St. Thomas Aquinas four-star Derek Wingo all showing early interest in the Buckeyes.
Might as well throw Akron Archbishop Hoban four-star athlete DeaMonte Trayanum in there, too. The staff is recruiting him as a running back at this point in time, but some believe he's better suited to be a linebacker at the next level.
Patterson’s father, Wes, was a walk-on quarterback at Alabama, but left the program after one semester and finished his degree at Auburn. He has family in the Huntsville area, too, which is a big reason why the Crimson Tide were considered the favorite in his recruitment for much of the process.
Alabama chose to accept a pledge this spring from Washington D.C. four-star inside linebacker Shane Lee, so it's easy to imagine there will be some ill will from Patterson if the Buckeyes ever face the Crimson Tide again in the College Football Playoffs.
Tennessee, meanwhile, showed very little interest in Patterson until new head coach Jeremy Pruitt arrived, despite the obvious home-state ties.