Matt Patchan, the 6-foot-7, 265-pound offensive lineman/defensive end from Armwood High School in Seffner, Fla., says he has nearly 70 scholarship offers and remains wide open.
"I'm still trying to narrow it down," said Patchan, a Scout.com five-star recruit o-liner. "I'm gonna take as many visits as I can this summer. I plan to make a list of about seven or eight schools by the end of this month that I want to visit."
Patchan, ranked No. 11 nationally by Scout.com, grew up following Miami and his dad, Matt, played left tackle for the 'Canes. "When I was younger they were the dominant team in college football," Patchan said. "They beat all the best teams and put a ton of guys in the NFL. During that time they still never seemed to get the respect they deserved and I liked that. It made them kind of an underdog."
Not only did Patchan's dad play for Miami, but do did his uncle (linebacker Danny Mariscal). "My dad is pretty open and is just helping me with the process, but my uncle really wants me to go to Miami."
Patchan admits that he did think about committing to Miami. "If they hadn't fired coach Art Kehoe, I would have probably been a sure commitment to them. But now I'm totally open."
Besides the 'Canes, which are just over three hours from his house, Patchan has also already visited Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Florida State. "I was at the Florida spring game and that was great," he said. "They have a real talented team and they are still young, so I like their chances. Coach Urban Meyer has done a great job.
The Crimson Tide is one school on Patchan's long list that he has definitely crossed off. "I visited Alabama too, but that's not the place for me," Patchan said.
But another school, which he'll trip to soon, is piquing his interest. "I'm definitely going to go to South Bend this summer and visit Notre Dame," he said. "I think coach Charlie Weis is real honest and a hard-working guy. He coached in the NFL for a while and prepares his players well. They run a pro-style offense and they use the same audibles as the Patriots."
Patchan plans to graduate in December, so he'll be making his commitment around that time as well. "By graduating early I'll be with the team early and be able to get a jumpstart over the other freshman," Patchan said. "I want to be the best player possible and want to go where they'll help me get to the next level.
"I also want a program with a great strength and conditioning program. The strength coach is the coach I'll probably be spending most of my time with, so I want to make sure I have a great relationship with him. Overall, I'd like to play for a talented team with a balanced offense and defense that will give me a chance to play for a national championship."
One thing that Patchan says will not be a factor in his decision is distance. "If the best school for me is in Alaska, I'll go to Alaska," he said. "I'll start hunting polar bears or something."
Patchan finished his junior season with 99 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, eight sacks, four fumbles caused and four recovered. He graded out at 93% and had 54 pancakes without giving up a single sack.
He benches 365 pounds, squats 475, has a 34-inch vertical jump and claims to run a 4.7 forty. When asked what his biggest strength is, Patchan says it's "effort". "I give more effort than anybody," he said. "You won't find anyone who gives more effort than I do. I think that's the main thing for me. I'm also very aggressive and relentless. I finish blocks well and on defense I have great hands and am quick off the ball.
"I hear that I'm the best player in the nation a lot, but I'm not perfect and am always trying to get better," Patchan said. "I want to be the best player I can be and work on improving myself every day."
Patchan says one of his goals is to play both ways in college. "But I'll probably start on offense and work my way toward defense," he said.
He reports a 3.4 core GPA and a 1190 SAT.