State Colleges

Patterson set to lead Hutch

HUTCHINSON — Cordarrelle Patterson is a freak. He embraces this.

Somebody, a long time ago, explained it to him in basic terms.

"I don't remember much from when I was a little kid," Patterson said. "But I remember people telling me I was good at sports... and that maybe someday I could be really good."

Consider that particular piece of advice a prophecy fulfilled.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound sophomore wide receiver from Rock Hill, S.C., is one of the most highly recruited junior-college players in the country after a breakout freshman season at Hutchinson Community College.

Patterson racked up 1,285 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns last season, using his 4.27-second speed in the 40-yard dash to burn teams deep on passing routes (907 receiving yards, nine touchdowns) and then making them pay on special teams (365 yards, two touchdowns).

"I feel like I'm a pretty competitive guy," Patterson said. "I don't mind when I get out there and there's some trash-talking, going back-and-forth. I enjoy that."

The Blue Dragons, ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA preseason poll, host Kilgore (Texas) tonight in their season opener (Cox Channel 22, 7 p.m.). Last season, Hutchinson finished 10-2, won the Salt City Bowl for the second straight year and was ranked No. 5 in the final national poll.

"We never had to prepare (Patterson) for being successful, for how to deal with the attention," Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades said. "He's just handled it naturally. You see guys sometimes lose focus when they start to experience that success, but in this case I think it's made him work harder."

Patterson credits Rhoades for getting him to Hutchinson, and feels an incredible amount of loyalty to his coach. Patterson spent a couple of months at North Carolina Prep Tech after graduation, but was unhappy there and needed a new place to play.

"He let me know right away that there was a place for me (in Hutchinson)," Patterson said. "He always made me feel welcome and let me know that the door was open to come here... and when I finally got here, we just clicked."

The list of scholarship offers already on the table for Patterson is impressive: Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Kansas State, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

Despite the attention, Patterson said he's keeping his focus squarely on the upcoming season — with a returning quarterback in Elliott Alford, he could put up even bigger numbers in 2011.

"I focus on what I've got to do, all the time," Patterson said. "I've been working hard, every day, with this new group of receivers we've got. Everything will happen in time."