The Virginia Military Institute is not one of the better teams in the Big South this year. In fact, they were handily beaten by North Greenville, an NCAA Division II team, 37-24 earlier in the year. Still, despite all their current failures, one player has been breaking out and giving them hope for the future.
That player is sophomore wide receiver Samuel Patterson. Last season, as a true freshman, Patterson saw very limited playing time, catching six passes for 61 yards and no touchdowns. He started this year off slowly, as well, but lately has broken out in a big way.
In the first 6 games of the season, Patterson had only 14 receptions for 171 yards and two scores. In the last two games, he has caught 11 balls for 270 yards and three touchdowns.
Patterson is a big target for his quarterback, standing 6’5” and weighing 205 lbs. However, size is not his only asset. Patterson is a great athlete. He played baseball and basketball, as well as football in high school, earning all-state honors for baseball in his junior year.
VMI head coach Sparky Woods was impressed by Patterson’s multi-sport athleticism from the start. “The first time I saw Sam play, I saw him playing basketball. I thought he was a great team player. He ran the court; he was a great rebounder. Boy, just a high-energy guy. Then, we got the film. He did the same thing on the football field. He was going to make a big play every game.” (www.dailyprogress.com)
Now, that big-play ability is translating to the college game. If the underdog Keydets are going to make any noise against the Flames, they’ll need #80, Samuel Patterson to have a huge game.