Within a week of Frank Beamer announcing his retirement, WR Phil Patterson of Bayside High School decomitted from the Virginia Tech Hokies. At that point, many were unsure if the Hokies’ next coach would be able to go down to the 757 and bring Patterson back into the fold knowing the Hokies’ need for a large wide receiver class this past recruiting cycle.
Almost as soon as he was formally announced as the new head coach, Justin Fuente focused heavily on trying to get Patterson and a month after he decomitted from the Hokies on November 7th, he recommitted on December 7th.
Despite Patterson being the only on-scholarship 2016 wide receiver to not enroll early, the 757 native has the highest expectations of the four receivers from the Class of 2016.
What became clear this spring is that the depth at the wide receiver spot behind Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, and also TE/WR Bucky Hodges, has improved but the door is still wide open for someone like Patterson to claim the third spot over guys like Divine Deablo, Devin Wilson, and Jaylen Bradshaw.
Patterson has a lot of the characteristics you want in a receiver as he has very impressive speed, good size, great athleticism, and has a very good vertical to go up and get the ball against opposing defensive backs. Patterson will definitely be able to be used as a deep ball threat immediately especially with opponents likely to focus their pass defense on Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges.
Patterson also played free safety in high school, and it shows as he has solid ball skills that will definitely help him even if the chemistry between him and Virginia Tech’s starting QB isn’t great. Patterson also doesn’t seem to be afraid of contact and has the toughness to break some tackles that many receivers may not be able to break.
Looking at Patterson’s tape, he does seem to be somewhat raw as a wide receiver as someone that could use some more refinement of his route running skills along with a development of his shorter routes.
What does seem to be clear is that Patterson has the skills to immediately be a deep threat on the outside that can allow the Hokies to use Cam Phillips more out of the slot. Patterson also has the makings of being a future top receiver along with Divine Deablo that will be able to capably replace the pair of Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips either in two years or over the next two years if Ford leaves early.
Phil Patterson has the makings of being a very good receiver for the Hokies but the expectations on him will be high beginning as soon as he touches the practice field for the first time in Blacksburg. If Patterson does meet the expectations that many in and around the program have for him, Hokie fans will definitely enjoy having him and Divine Deablo behind Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, and Bucky Hodges.