Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | 10:32 p.m.
The 5-foot-11, 290-pound center had college scholarship offers from the likes of UNR, Northern Arizona, Portland State and Montana.
None of those options, however, were as attractive as playing for his father at the next level.
Patterson on Tuesday verbally committed to UTEP, where his father, Andre Patterson, has been the program’s defensive line coach the past six months.
Both father and son are thrilled to finally be part of the same program.
“He’s never really been able to watch me because he’s so busy coaching,” AC Patterson said. “So, yes, I’m excited. It’s great for us.”
Andre Patterson coached on UNLV’s staff the last two years but wasn’t retained when coach Mike Sanford was fired in November.
Taking the job at UTEP meant not being in the stands on Friday nights to watch his son play in the fall with the Gaels. It was a tough decision but one that was made easy knowing they will be reunited next fall.
“He made up his own mind. I stayed out of it,” Andre Patterson said. “I was able to let him know some of the truths (about recruiting). I helped him separate the truth from the fantasy.”
AC Patterson said he also gave serious consideration to Montana. His dad played for the Grizzlies, and he often spends part of his summer vacation their visiting relatives.
He didn’t take any official recruiting trips but visited his dad at UTEP during spring break and was able to get a firsthand look at the football program and university.
Some of his fondest childhood memories came following his father to football practice. He was in elementary school when his dad coached with the Minnesota Vikings team that reached the NFC Championship game.
Patterson joined Gorman’s team prior to his sophomore season and has started every game at center. He is the leader of an offensive line that returns four of five starters — all of whom are believed to be Division I prospects.
Patterson also was the first freshman to start for his high school in Aurora, Colo., in 2007 before moving to Las Vegas. That was his dad’s last year coaching the Denver Broncos before being hired at UNLV.
“I’ve been around football my whole life,” he said. “That’s helped me learn the game and have a better understanding of it.”
Patterson is the second player from Gorman to make an early commitment this offseason. Defensive end Jalen Grimble picked USC in May.
Gorman had eight players from its state championship team last year sign with Division I programs.