Photo: Tyree Patterson (top wide receiver); Credit: HUDL
Wide receiver Tyree Patterson out of Eustis (Fla) was in search of a place to call home, and he has found one in the University of Florida, officially committing to the program Sunday afternoon, just a few days following the program’s Orange and Blue spring game.
RELATED: WR Tyree Patterson Commits to the Florida Gators
He becomes just the second player to commit to Florida as part of the 2023 recruiting class, and the first in his class to pledge to the program under head coach Billy Napier and his staff. The other commit Florida currently holds within that class is Trinity Christian School (Ga) athlete Aaron Gates.
Patterson will likely be the first of a variety of receivers Florida will want to bring in as the class comes together over the coming months. He, in essence, is kickstarting the new era under Napier. His position coach, Keary Colbert, will certainly continue to look for the next UF-bound receivers as well.
For now, UF is getting a player that Colbert has compared Patterson to former USC WR Drake London, who is slated to be selected high in this month’s NFL Draft. That’s something Florida fans might get excited about as they see more of what Patterson can bring to the table.
With his tools, Patterson was able to put up solid numbers during his junior season, hauling in 53 passes for 1,078 yards and 13 touchdowns.
So, who is Tyree Patterson? What type of receiver is he and what should Florida fans expect from him moving forward as they look to see a rebuilt receiving corps in the next couple of seasons?
We went ahead and did some of the homework, breaking down exactly what Patterson appears to bring to the table based on his film from the past couple of seasons.
Patterson, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds has the build of an outside target receiver, capable of getting over the top of a defender with ease. His build makes him a compact player able to withstand hits and take on tacklers.
Though he’s perhaps not as heavy as one would like, there’s plenty to build on with his frame.
His ability to take on tackles and break them in the open field was seen plenty on his tape from last season and that’s likely an aspect of his game Colbert will want to exploit as he continues within the program over the next couple of years.
Just a glimpse of that can be seen in the clip below:
“He said I remind him of Drake London, who he used to coach at USC,” Patterson said when asked about what he spoke with Colbert about during his visit earlier this month. “He said the way my game is and the way I run my routes, catch the ball and score reminded me of him.”
Though it’s not a lot to go off of, many of Patterson’s clips resemble that of the above, able to break tackles with ease and make his way to the end zone on several other occasions. That’s something London obviously had a knack for, too.
During his final season at the prep level, London put up similar numbers to that of Patterson, accounting for 62 receptions for 1,089 yards and 12 touchdowns. Obviously, London has an inch or so on Patterson, but the similar numbers and skillset leave the comparisons open.
Due to his size, vision and acceleration, Patterson has the look of a running back, able to burst through a given hole and break arm tackles in the open field. Because of that, he was given the ball multiple times in the screen game at Eustis and thrived.
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Though he’s not a massive receiver, Patterson still has a pretty large catch radius and showed an ability to leap over defenders in order to secure a pass. He is able to use his frame to out-muscle players at the prep level, which will try to be repeated at the collegiate level, too.
Patterson routinely caught passes in the backfield only to take them the distance at the prep level, but he was also able to get past defenders and out-work or out-jump them too, downfield. That was seen routinely in clips and it’s something to consider when projecting him to the next level.
Having the ability to go up and get a high pass is critical at any level, and being a big target for your quarterback certainly goes a long way. That will give the offense and the QB an easy feeling to go your way on a routine basis.
Again, Patterson’s bread and butter came near the line of scrimmage, only to take it the distance after a short catch and a long run. But he’s had his fair share of downfield targets and catches, too.
He’s able to effortlessly outrun a defender and take it the distance after a catch. He also understands ball-tracking which enables him to make adjustments with the ball in the air, sometimes having to slow down for a pass that might come up short, or speed up to snag the ball before it falls in front of him.
Patterson possesses the ability to do this on a routine basis given his route-running ability, and upper-level awareness of where he is on the field on a given play.
Given his size, it’s no wonder that Patterson was used as a blocker on multiple occasions. His willingness to do so is a bonus that will work in his favor as he likely wants to get on the field quickly at the next level. Though there aren’t many clips of him blocking, the ones that are able to be found, are impressive.
In the below clip, Patterson is seen at the top of the screen driving the defender backward, while also continuing the block to finish him out of bounds.
Of course, Patterson isn’t a perfect prospect. There are some limitations to his game, particularly when it comes to long speed at times. His acceleration is there, but how fast will he be able to dominate at the next level?
At around 180 pounds, it’s tough to project just how big Patterson will ultimately be, and that weight gain will be something of importance as he continues to UF.
Still, Patterson exhibits plenty of intriguing traits to build on, particularly his ability to break tackles in the open field and explode out of a short pass to take it the distance. He has fantastic vision, especially for a player at his level, and he will only continue to get better as he enters an expanded offense.
This won’t be UF’s only target at receiver, and it’s tough to say right now where Patterson will ultimately fall on that board, but securing a commitment from him early is a smart move as his projected placement following his season will likely have him senior “jump” up many recruiting boards.
There’s a reason why Patterson was one of SI’s 12 prospects to watch after the ESPN 300 elite underclassmen event earlier this month:
A great build at nearly 6’3″, 180 pounds and consistent route-running to pair with a long stride, Patterson caught early attention on and only improved on the opinion thereafter. The build was reminiscent of a wing in basketball (yes, Patterson plays hoops for Eustis High) but the polish reflected a prospect who appears all in on one sport. Position coach and former NFL star Chris Chambers, like the SI staff, was surprised to learn Patterson had not breached the Power Five level on his scholarship offer list to date, especially after a 2021 season in which he averaged better than 20 yards per catch, broke the 1,000 yard barrier and scored 13 touchdowns in 10 games. Liberty, UMass and North Texas have offered while Florida State, Marshall and others have shown interest.
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