Cordarrelle Patterson was the top junior college receiver in the nation last year. On Monday, he officially enrolled at the University of Tennessee. But while many Vol fans are already dreaming of a pass-catching trio consisting of Justin Hunter (extremely talented, if 100% after knee surgery), Da’rick Rogers (talented, if focused) and Patterson… Patterson’s new coach wants to temper the excitement a bit.
“The expectations are too high. They are for everybody on our team. But that’s okay; he’s got to learn to manage that.”
His position coach Darrin Hinshaw also cautions against over-hyping Patterson:
“You always have high expectations that you want them to come in and contribute some way. How can we do that? Well, we’ve got to learn the offense first. We’ve got to learn what we’re doing and be able to play and then work on technique and understanding that. There’s a learning curve that has to happen…
He’s very, very smart. He understands the game really well, and when he gets here, the competition’s going to go through the roof. That’s what we want.”
What any school wants when they ink a top juco prospect is the next Cam Newton or the next Terrence Cody — a player who can make an immediate impact on a team’s record just as soon as he steps foot on the playing field. Unfortunately, the list of juco signees who disappoint is a heckuva lot longer than the very short list of game-changers who arrive on campus via that route.
So will Patterson be the star UT fans hope? Or will he be another juco receiver — like former hyped Vol juco signee Kenny O’Neal — who enters and exits without making an impact? (O’Neal caught two passes for the Volunteers during his career.) The jury on Patterson, obviously, is still out. Whether the verdict comes in positive or negative could have a large impact on Tennessee’s offense in 2012 and therefore on Dooley’s chances of sticking around to see 2013 as well.