February 4, 2009

Rebels land Mississippi's No. 1-ranked prospect

Ole Miss coveted Patrick Patterson more than any other player in the Magnolia State.

That wasn't a secret. What was a secret, however, was what the four-star wide receiver from Macon's Noxubee County High School would do on National Signing Day.

On Wednesday morning at CBS affiliate WCBI-TV in Columbus, Miss., Patterson ended the suspense.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Patterson, ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 4 wide receiver and No. 50 overall prospect, committed to Ole Miss. Patterson is expected to sign his national letter-of-intent papers with Ole Miss this morning.

"I plan on being an Ole Miss Rebel," Patterson said, picking up a white Ole Miss hat. "When I took my visit up there, I felt good and everybody made me feel welcomed. ...It was really the coaches. I built a close relationship with them."

Patterson, who led the Tigers to a state championship as a senior, chose Ole Miss over Alabama, Tennessee, Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State, Auburn and others. A Parade and U.S. Army All-American selection, Patterson is known for his superb hands, his physicality and his route-running ability.

Patterson, who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.5 seconds, has a 2.9 core grade-point average and is expected to meet NCAA initial-eligibility requirements. Patterson caught 209 passes for 3,574 yards and 42 touchdowns during his prep career.

"(Houston Nutt) is getting a great player," Noxubee County coach M.C. Miller said. "He's getting a hard worker. He can almost wrap his hand around a football. If a quarterback gets the ball close to him, he'll catch it."

Patterson is expected to challenge for early playing time at Ole Miss and will likely report to school as a candidate to replace departed wide receiver Mike Wallace in the 2009 season.

"First of all, I want to come in and work to get a starting spot," Patterson said. "I figure I'll let it come."

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