Patterson Looks to be Instant hit for University of Cumberlands

Article by Patrick MacCoon, River City Sports

Chattanooga, Tenn. — Mark Pemberton has seen several talented receivers in his days around high school football, but Noel Patterson was something different than most for Rhea County’s head coach who is 196-76 all-time.

After a standout senior season the Region 4-5A Offensive Player of the Year signed his Letter of Intent to continue his football career at University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky. during National Signing Day on Wednesday.

“I’ve had some 1,000 yard receivers before, but Noel is a guy that we knew if we got one-on-one coverage with we’d be able to make some big plays,” Pemberton said of the 5-foot-11, 160 pound speedster. “He just had a knack for running really good routes and he would get open and (Daniel) Dotson got him the ball. He’s an outstanding talent.”

Not only did Patterson haul in 44 receptions for 1,074 yards and 13 receiving touchdowns (26 career), but he also had five 100-yard games and five multi-touchdown performances in the Golden Eagles’ run to the Class 5A Semifinals.

His breakaway ability not only helped him average a region best 24.4 yards per catch, but he also averaged 34 yards per kickoff return with 544 yards on 16 returns (two touchdowns).

Despite being limited in his final two playoff outings with a hamstring injury, Patterson finished with 1,805 all purpose yards which was second in the entire region to Soddy Daisy Tre Carter’s 1,837.

“Noel is a playmaker and has a lot of speed,” University of the Cumberlands recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phillip Wells said. “I would talk to guys from other schools and they would say, have you talked to Noel, have you talked to Noel. I’d go to Ooltewah and they’d say, you need to go talk to those guys from Rhea County they can play. I feel like he can come in and play early with our program.”

Like most of the 59 and counting signees to the Patriots NAIA Division I program, the beautiful campus attracted Patterson along with teammates Tyler Pendleton and Gavin Downey.

Not to mention, his brother and former Rhea County standout wide receiver Dimitrius Patterson who plans to come join him in Williamsburg after playing with Dakota College where he had 12 catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman.

“The thing I like the most about signing with the Cumberlands is just being able to play with Gavin and TP for four more seasons,” Patterson said. “I know they don’t like to lose and I don’t either, so it’s going to make it a lot of fun.”

While his 4.6 40-yard dash speed made Patterson tough to stay close to on play-action passes, especially when Rhea County ran play-action passes in its Wing-T offense, he feels the need to improve his clock time and add 20 pounds or more in the weight room before his freshman season.

“My first goal is to try to put on more weight and improve my 40-yard dash and bring it down by milliseconds,” he said. “My other athletic abilities will come. I just have to put on a little more weight with those defensive backs and I’ll be ready to go.”

The Patriots will present yet another run-first offense for Patterson to work in and take advantage of when they throw the ball deep down field with opposing defenders bitting for the run, as third-year head coach Matt Rhymer runs a triple option attack.

“I think Noel is going to go up there and do really well in their scheme because they run the ball a lot like us, so he’s going to get some man coverage on the outside,” Pemberton said. “They also talked about using him on special teams. They want to have a dynamic return guy that they can do some things with in the kicking game.”

Just like he did for the Golden Eagles, Patterson hopes to carry on a winning tradition on the gridiron in college after leaving his high school program as part of the winningest senior class of all-time.

“The winning was the most memorable part about high school football,” Patterson said. “Freshman season we went undefeated and since sophomore year we made the playoffs and won seven of those games. I just love playoff time. The regular season is fun, but when playoffs come it’s real football and everybody is competing and I love to compete.”

Every Saturday in the fall of 2016, Patterson will go up against opponents with his same mindset and hopes to top them and help University of the Cumberlands to a NAIA championship.

Photo provided by our friends at the Rhea Review

Contact Patrick MacCoon at or on Twitter @RCS_Patrick

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