Willie Patterson took his recruiting down to the wire — as in days — before the national signing deadline.
But it didn’t matter how long it took to get his first NCAA Division I offer. All that mattered was it came.
Patterson had one of the most dominant seasons in his senior year as the Franklin Pierce High School football team has ever witnessed. He got his long-awaited scholarship offer to play football at Montana State University this past weekend and made a verbal commitment.
He plans to sign with the Big Sky, FCS school on National Letters of Intent signing day on Wednesday.
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“I was a little speechless,” Patterson said of receiving the scholarship offer. “Man, I’ve been dreaming about this moment.
“Just the hard work finally starting to show.”
It would seem surprising that it took so long for that offer. No other dual-threat quarterback in the state did what Patterson did to stuff stat sheets this past season.
The 59 total touchdowns he scored — whether by throwing, running, intercepting a pass, returning a punt or returning a kick — would seem appealing.
So why no takers?
“That’s probably a question you should ask all of these other coaches,” Patterson said.
He knows 59 TDs means little to coaches who only see Patterson’s 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame — even if he did throw for 2,723 yards, run for 1,659 yards and lead the Cardinals to back-to-back 2A state playoff appearances.
But he only needed to wait — and wait some more.
“Three days before signing day — you really have to trust the process,” said Patterson, who was told he would get reps as a slot receiver and as a kick and punt returner.
“I had a feeling something big was going to happen. I just didn’t know when and where. I trusted in God — that he was going to open up something. When I stepped onto their campus, I knew this was it.”
Patterson was a two-time MVP in the 2A SPSL and a two-time TNT All-Area selection.
His father, Pat Patterson, was a running back at Mount Tahoma before starring at Central Washington and eventually entering the university’s hall of fame. Pat still holds CWU’s single-season rushing record.
In a win against Lindbergh, Willie Patterson threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 281 yards and two touchdowns.
His quarterback days are done for the most part, though … except the coaches did talk about the ability to unleash him for a trick play or two.
“I think what separates me from other 5-9, 170-pound kids is my work ethic,” Patterson said. “The way I fight for everything I do. I’ve always had to fight and prove people wrong. You get what you put in and that’s what I did — like extra reps in the weight room. When Coach says three sets of 10, I’m doing three sets of 11, three sets of 12.
“Getting this offer — it was such a relief. I was like, ‘Finally.’ ”
BONNEY LAKE MVP COMMITS TO EWU
Bonney Lake lineman Caleb Davis committed to Eastern Washington on Tuesday.
Davis, a two-time TNT All-Area selection — as an offensive lineman in 2015 and as a defensive lineman in 2016 — was the MVP of the 3A Pierce County League this past season.
He joins a litany of South Sound student-athletes who have committed to EWU.
That list, so far, includes Emerald Ridge’s Andrew Boston, Graham-Kapowsin’s Matt Shook, Lakes’ Cale Lindsay and Xavier Banner, Mount Tahoma’s Ira Branch, Olympia’s Amir Matheney, Peninsula’s Deboreae McClain and Steilacoom’s Marques Hampton Jr. and Anthony Leiato.
Newly hired EWU coach Aaron Best graduated from Curtis in 1996. Best took over for Beau Baldwin, also a Curtis grad, who took the offensive coordinator position at the University of California, Berkeley.