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June 30, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.Shea Patterson is glad his family moved when it did.
The class of 2016 dual-threat quarterback is set to participate in the upcoming Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour, and he said that without leaving Hidalgo (Texas) High for Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist last month he may have been out of rhythm at the invitation-only event.
"I have been working out, throwing and lifting, just preparing for this," he said. "The thing that I am really working on is my timing.
"At my old school, I would have probably been the fastest wide receiver if I played that position. A lot of my guys were running 5.1 in the 40, and now I have been throwing to guys running a 4.4 or 4.5 and I have been underthrowing them. I know that there are going to be some gazelles at this event next week, so I am glad I have been getting used to it."
Patterson is committed to Arizona, and he earned his way onto the DeSoto (Texas) High field when he traveled to the Pittsburgh stop of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour.
He is one of 30 quarterbacks who will be tasked with setting the tone at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said Patterson is one of many signal callers he is excited to see in Texas.
"As a young guy, it will be interesting to see how he stacks up," Farrell said. "I think of all the groups the quarterbacks could be the most interesting to watch. There are a lot of really good players but some of the elite kids for the next class won't be there, so there is an opportunity for those on the next level to boost their profiles."
The expected top quarterback from the Class of 2015 is Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco prospect Josh Rosen. He will not be at this event after being one of the few underclassmen to participate in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour.
Also making headlines for his absence will be Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure quarterback Ricky Town. Town took part in the inaugural event last season, as well as the Rivals Camp Series stop in Los Angeles.
Farrell said, while it would have been good to see those players compete, the setting is not designed for their skill sets.
"It is a little unfair to take the ability to run away from them," he said. "These camps are really set up for the pocket passer so it is understandable for them to have other plans, but there are a lot of great quarterbacks who will be there that we can see."
Battling for the recognition of the analysts will be Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite passer Chason Virgil; Stephenville (Texas) High prospect Jarrett Stidham; Lee's Summit (Mo.) High pro-style player Drew Lock; Olive Branch (Miss.) High athlete Ross Trail; Champaign (Ill.) Centennial recruit Jimmy Fitzgerald and Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy dual threat Kevin Johnson.
Farrell said this group will set the tone for everyone else on the field.
"Quarterbacks are so important for a successful camp," he said. "If you aren't having good passes thrown, the evaluation points for a lot of other guys get messed up."
He also said that those delivering the better passes will begin to separate from the pack.
"We are still several months from ranking the next class, but having so many guys here will help when he have those discussions," he said. "This is an opportunity to show who belongs in the discussion with Rosen and the others.
"They are all kids with good offers and good tape, but now we will see what they can do with elite receivers and against elite coverage guys."
Patterson said the increased level of athlete who will surround him will help to elevate his game.
He added that practice with his new teammates has helped him to prepare for it.
"If I hadn't been here, I would be on my old timing," he said. "When I first got to Shreveport, I was used to '1, 2, 3, hitch, throw.' Now with these guys, it is '1, 2, 3, throw.' I am sure there will be more adjusting to do, but I am ready."
He also said that even as the youngest -- and only committed player of the group -- this was still a proving ground event for him and he wants the headlines.
"I am more of a pocket passer who can run than a guy who runs around but can throw," he said. "I don't want to be getting hit by linebackers, but I can extend the play. I am going to show that out there.
"I expect the best of myself, and my goal is to be the best quarterback there."