Tana Patrick, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound four-star linebacker from North Jackson High School in Stevenson, Ala., has helped lead his team to a 7-1 record with 91 tackles and five sacks. Patrick has also scored five touchdowns between rushing and receiving.
"I have great speed and power," Patrick said. "I have good vision and see things quickly. I have real good awareness on the field. I'm just a physical and aggressive player."
He says he can bench-press 300-pounds and squat 550. He also claims a 37-inch vertical jump and 4.6 forty speed.
"I want to improve on everything," Patrick said. "I think I've gotten better every year and still want to improve every part of my game."
Patrick, ranked as the No. 5 strongside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, says he has 22 scholarship offers but insists he hasn't narrowed down his favorites yet.
"I don't have a top five or even a top 10 yet," he said. "I'm just focusing on my team right now. We're doing really well and I think we can go far this year.
"I'll narrow things down once our season is done," Patrick said. "I'm not even setting up any official visits until then too."
Patrick has scholarship offers from coast-to-coast, including No. 24 Florida State, No. 11 LSU, Nebraska, No. 6 USC, No. 2 Alabama, Auburn, No. 4 Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, South Carolina, No. 9 Georgia, North Carolina and Clemson, among others.
Although Patrick was born and raised in Alabama, he says that he never really followed either of the in-state schools. "I just loved college football," he said. "I was never for Alabama or Auburn. I never really got caught up in that whole thing."
The Tigers are just under four hours from Patrick's home, while 'Bama is just under three hours away.
"Alabama is obviously doing real good," he said. "Coach Nick Saban has helped them improve and it seems like they are having a lot more fun out there then they've had in the past."
He attended the Alabama/Kentucky game on Oct. 4. "I love the atmosphere at Alabama," he said. "It's a great place to watch a game and the fans really get into it."
Patrick also already attended the Auburn/LSU game on Sept. 20 and says the two experiences weren't much different. "The Auburn fans really get into it too," he said. "The atmosphere isn't that different from what it's like at Alabama. The setting and the city is different, but they love their school just as much."
But what stands out most about the Tigers is their defense. "They are all about defense at Auburn," Patrick said. "They just fly around and get to the ball fast."
Other teams whose defense has impressed Patrick are LSU and Nebraska. "LSU is a great defensive school," he said. "I love the linebackers they produce and they have great coaches there. It's also a really nice place, but I haven't been there in a couple years so I'd like to go back and check them out."
"Nebraska is also known for their defense," he said. "They have a tradition of producing great linebackers."
Although it isn't an official visit, Patrick will be attending the Tennessee/Alabama game on Oct. 25. "I think it'll be a real good game," he said. "It's a rivalry game, so both teams will be hyped.
"I'm surprised that Tennessee hasn't done very well this season," Patrick admitted. "I thought they'd be a top team, but that's not really something I'm thinking about."
With offers from all over the country, Patrick says that distance will not be a factor, which is good news for USC. "Distance isn't an issue," he said. "I just want to fit in and feel comfortable and I'll go wherever that is. If that's in California, then I'll go to California."
Patrick is being recruited by Trojans linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr. "He thinks that I'd fit in great there," he said. "He thinks I'd be a good addition to their defense and I really like how fast they play. That's how I like to play. They've got great speed and are aggressive all the time."
Making things even tougher for Patrick is that no school seems to be recruiting him more than the others. "I get like four letters a week from every school that has offered me and all the coaches call regularly too.
"I'm just gonna do a little research on my own about these schools and hopefully will learn more about them when I take my visits," Patrick said. "I'll probably be looking at and visiting the schools that seem to be pushing me the most."
Patrick reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 15 ACT, which he is retaking in November.