By TONY ADAME
The Wichita Eagle
HUTCHINSON – The nation’s top junior-college wide receiver is headed to the SEC.
Hutchinson Community College wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, a five-star recruit according to Rivals.com, signed a letter of intent with Tennessee on Tuesday morning, choosing the Volunteers over LSU, Georgia and Ole Miss on college football’s national signing day.
Patterson followed his signing with a press conference at Hutchinson Community College.
“I chose Tennessee because I went there in the summer twice on unofficial visits and each time it felt like home to me,” Patterson said. “It came down to Georgia, Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss … and I didn’t know that it was just going to be SEC schools but in the end that conference was going to be the best place for me because that’s where the best competition is.”
“Tennessee already has two really good wide receivers so that was important to me. I didn’t want to go somewhere where they could just double-team me every game.”
Patterson, 6-fooot-4 and 210 pounds, racked up 1,814 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011 on his way to Jayhawk Conference offensive player of the year honors. As a kick returner, he led the nation with a 51.1 yards per return average and three touchdowns.
LSU made a late push behind former Butler Community College quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who will likely be the Tigers’ starter in 2012.
“Zach hosted me on my official visit and having played against him and already knowing him from that made them real attractive,” Patterson said. “He really wanted us to play together.”
Patterson, from Rock Hill, S.C., was a two-time NJCAA All-America and led Hutchinson to consecutive runner-up finishes in Region VI and consecutive wins in the Salt City Bowl. Patterson received offers from every major Division I conference.
“My family is only three or four hours from Knoxville, so they’ll be able to watch me play a lot,” Patterson said. “That was important to me after being all the way out here in Kansas the last couple of years.”
Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades heaped praise on Patterson.
“It’s hard to say if he’s the very best to play here because there were a lot of guys before my time,” Rhoades said. “But it would also be pretty hard to say we’ve had one better here. Based on the knowledge I have he’s one of the greatest to ever come out of not just Hutch but out of the Jayhawk Conference.”
Patterson is still in school in Hutchinson and must earn his two-year degree because he was an academic non-qualifier out of high school. Patterson said he’s on track to receive his degree in May and will enroll at Tennessee for summer classes.
Three other Hutchinson players also signed with FBS schools on Tuesday – linebacker Tim Edmond (Ohio), linebacker Markus Golden (Missouri) and offensive lineman Chris Hawkins (Troy). Hutchinson running back Deveon Dinwiddie, a Hutchinson High product, signed with FCS champion North Dakota State.