John Adams: Cordarrelle Patterson will leave highlights, regrets behind

John Adams
Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) celebrates with teammate Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) after a touchdown at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)
I am not sure how these guys can jump so high, but it does make for good moments.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Justin Hunter (11) celebrates with teammate Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) after a touchdown at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL) I am not sure how these guys can jump so high, but it does make for good moments.

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One down, two to go.

Wide receiver Justin Hunter's decision to declare for the 2013 NFL draft means Tennessee will lose one of its best offensive players. The other two — quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson —also are likely to go pro early.

If the fans could have any one of the three back for next season, they probably wouldn't take long to make their choice.

Hunter has plenty of pro potential. He's tall, fast and athletic. Bray is 6-foot-6 with a big arm and a quick release, and has a slew of 300-yard passing games behind him.

But Patterson was the biggest star. And he would have stood out on far better teams than the one that just finished a 5-7 season.

You can't help but put his college career in the past tense. Although his departure after one season at UT isn't official, it's inconceivable that a player with his talent would spend another season playing college football when he could earn considerably more than a scholarship in the NFL. He would be worth drafting just as a kick returner.

His college career wasn't much different from his kick returns. It was a flash.

And it's a flash worth remembering.

If Patterson declares for the NFL draft as expected, the volume of his UT highlights will be exceeded only by the regrets from fans who didn't see nearly enough of a player who could turn every kick return, pass reception or end-around into an adventure.

He didn't just provide highlights while living up to his immense junior college hype. He stretched the imagination.

Imagine him playing for Tennessee in 1997. Imagine Peyton to Patterson.

Or imagine Patterson playing for the Vols in 1993 when Heath Shuler was the quarterback. Think he couldn't have made a difference in a three-point loss to Florida or a tie against Alabama?

In fact, imagine what a difference Patterson might have made on any of those UT teams in the early 1990s that were only a player or two short of making a serious run at a national championship.

Instead, Patterson performed his magic in games of little consequence on UT's third consecutive losing team. His timing wasn't much better when it came to NCAA rules.

The NCAA moved up kickoffs from the 30- to the 35-yard-line for the 2012 season with the intent of producing more touchbacks and fewer injuries.

I don't know about the injuries. But the NCAA was right about fewer returns.

After the first six weeks of the season, there had been as many touchbacks as there were in the entire 2011 season.

No big deal, right? Not unless you had one of the best kick returners in the country.

Patterson returned 24 kicks for a 28-yard average this season. What if he had returned 10 more? Who's to say one of them wouldn't have altered the course of a close loss?

I'm not minimizing his value on a losing team. If nothing else, he provided a wonderful diversion for fans.

Once Patterson received a pass or kickoff, fans could forget about all the losses — or all the yardage opponents accumulated in huge chunks against the worst defense in school history. When Patterson was on the run, fans didn't see beyond the next fake, sudden change of direction or bewildered defender.

They just didn't get to see enough.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 111

Supersayin1 writes:

I agree John! Patterson was such a beast,and one that doesn't come around very often. I don't think we will ever find another like him. Well it was fun while it lasted. GO VOLS!

mdvol writes:

Imagine if Hunter, Bray and Patterson had a coach other than Derek Dooley.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Imagine our not having to imagine him leaving. But he likely will. So, life goes on. If he wants the big bucks more than staying in UT transition land, okay, bye-you. Let's wait until he announces. Perhaps he and Bray will do so together(NOT). I will just be glad when we see who is staying, who is going. Otherwise, we get more useless John Adams blather.

gillblog writes:

in response to mdvol:

Imagine if Hunter, Bray and Patterson had a coach other than Derek Dooley.

You can't look back, md, you just can't look back.
If you do you'll end up crying your eyes out for no good reason.
And, there are many good reasons to look ahead right now. Not the least of which; DD is gone.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to mdvol:

Imagine if Hunter, Bray and Patterson had a coach other than Derek Dooley.

Imagine if the defense had anybody but Sunseri?

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

Can't we at least try and convince them to stay?? I mean they are great athletes, and vol fans are basically talking like they are past tense. It sucks hunter left, but if patterson and bray stay, then we can still have a great offense next year. I wish the media would shut up and stop talking like they are leaving. If bray leaves, he's an idiot, he won't get drafted until late, don't care where he's projected and he'll be the next erik ainge, and patterson....You can't be a VFL if your only here one year, this guy also needs an extra year to work on his route running and his maturity.

orange_eVOLution writes:

I love watching Cordarrelle play. Wish like crazy we could keep him another year.

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Imagine if the defense had anybody but Sunseri?

Could have finished 9-3.

pingkr62 writes:

If they all decide to leave, good luck to them. When a door closes, another opens. This could help U.T. gain some unexpected commitments. G.B.O.!!!

tennesseeduke writes:

in response to mdvol:

Imagine if Hunter, Bray and Patterson had a coach other than Derek Dooley.

They don't play defense! CDD made a bad hire and decision to go 3-4 with SS. Imagine if the defense would been in the top 35 like last years? We'd be 10-2 and headed to a big bowl game and CDD would still be coaching. Offense was great and CDD was here. Look at it for what it was and stop bashing CDD it's over.

GBO

Tennesseeduke

tennesseeduke writes:

JH, CP, and probably TB good luck and wish you well. Wish it could have been better.

GBO

Tennesseeduke

retiredVolinGA writes:

All the money they can make PLUS why would they want to endure another transition year just to prove they are VFLs? It just seems a no-brainer to me, go make the dough. Not to mention a chance at injury if they stay. I can't blame them if they go even though I personally would love to watch them another year. They have to do what is in their best interest. Wouldn't you?

lomas98 writes:

If Patterson was on teams in the 90's he would have played db or would have sat due to not knowing blocking schemes or not being a great route runner.

eVOLved writes:

I am a JA column critic but have to admit that this is an interesting article and artistic at the end.

claiborneh writes:

5 stars do matter (Juco included)

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to lomas98:

If Patterson was on teams in the 90's he would have played db or would have sat due to not knowing blocking schemes or not being a great route runner.

I hope your post is sarcasm. CP is the SHIZ. Would love to have him back for his senior year, but wish him the best in the NFL.

fearthehound writes:

in response to claiborneh:

5 stars do matter (Juco included)

Someimes. Sometmes 5 stars don't pan out, same with 4 stars and sometimes 3 stars turn in to super stars. You go out and recruit the best you can--it's a phooey shoot.

fearthehound writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Someimes. Sometmes 5 stars don't pan out, same with 4 stars and sometimes 3 stars turn in to super stars. You go out and recruit the best you can--it's a phooey shoot.

Oh look, the 19th century moral morons at KNS invented a new Vegas term--phooey shoot.

fearthehound writes:

Anybody here ever gone to Vegas and rolled dice in a phooey game? What a bunch of silly hicks.

ambrown64 writes:

If you doubted it, this UT highlight reel will cease all debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx6pGF...

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Patterson will not stay, if for no other reason, I understand his academic prowess is -- say, questionable. Bray will not stay because with all of his receivers gone (top 5 receivers all gone if Patterson leaves), there is a pretty good chance that he won't look as impressive, and his draft stock could actually go down.

rockytopwestone writes:

in response to tennesseeduke:

They don't play defense! CDD made a bad hire and decision to go 3-4 with SS. Imagine if the defense would been in the top 35 like last years? We'd be 10-2 and headed to a big bowl game and CDD would still be coaching. Offense was great and CDD was here. Look at it for what it was and stop bashing CDD it's over.

GBO

Tennesseeduke

The problem was Derek Dooley was not coaching ! He was just a idiot standing on the sidlines in orange pants !

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

what I will remember most about Patterson are the two(Yes 2) penalties he had for showboating before crossing the goal line costing UT two touchdowns. Of course he has great talent or he could never have gotten those two unsportsman like penalties. It seems to me that those type penalties come from a lack of maturity, not in talent but in appreciation of the team concept. I like team concept, team players and team accomplishments.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Patterson will need tons of work. He does not block downfield, runs very poor routes and will not have that edge in the NFL of making lesser talent look stupid. Not saying he can't play at that level, but he is far from an Elite receiver YET. Kick returners are not very important with the current rules. Good luck, hope he works hard.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Oh look, the 19th century moral morons at KNS invented a new Vegas term--phooey shoot.

You need to learn some morals and values.You would find it does a body good.

wayne.kearney#1414428 writes:

I have to say lets be done with them all who think they are ready to go pro. I think all of them need a lot of growing up to do. Feel sorry for any pro team who drafts them. Peyton stayed 4yrs and we all know none of these fools are anywhere near the player he was at UT.

chattbud writes:

Adams, where’s Gruden? This fall you keep whipping the UT fan base up with, Your,..."Gruden’s coming, Gruden’s coming to UT. You’re full of BS. You & your articles are pure fantasies. You seem to always be reporting on the future which you know nothing about. You should stop reporting gossip as facts. Bray & CP have Not left UT. Stop trying to run them off. You are the one that should leave. Go Pro John? LOL

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

Could have finished 9-3.

Absolutely too much pressure on the offense to win games..

SummittsCourt writes:

Just keep the O-line intact and the Vols will be fine. They were the real stars this year.

FearTheVols1252 writes:

in response to claiborneh:

5 stars do matter (Juco included)

5 star players can be a double-edge sword. If they perform to expectations the team generally does better, but it also means they may not hang around very long.

volt11 writes:

in response to chattbud:

Adams, where’s Gruden? This fall you keep whipping the UT fan base up with, Your,..."Gruden’s coming, Gruden’s coming to UT. You’re full of BS. You & your articles are pure fantasies. You seem to always be reporting on the future which you know nothing about. You should stop reporting gossip as facts. Bray & CP have Not left UT. Stop trying to run them off. You are the one that should leave. Go Pro John? LOL

Who cares if Bray leaves?? He can't play with the big boys anyway. Let him go to the NFL,if he thinks he will be drafted in the 1st round he's dead wrong. Patterson has no choice but to leave, he didn't go to class.

volinlm writes:

Had the Vols prospects for a championship run been better for next year, one or two of them might consider staying. But, it could be another tough year for the Vols in '13, so why suffer that pain, and in Bray's case, get beat up on here by the fans for not making perfect throws or whatever. Couldn't blame them all for leaving.

Classof72 writes:

It's a team game. Nobody on that team is indispensable. They couldn't whip cream. Bray, Hunter and Patterson are extrememly talented, but incomplete players. Thanks to them for coming, and best wishes for the rapid improvement they must make to succeed in the NFL. Their lack of overall proficiency is one reason the Vols have a new coach, and needed one.

tnbigg writes:

Hope he stays. Not every super star opts for the NFL before the end of their collegiate career. Example: Peyton Manning

Hound_Dog69 writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

You need to learn some morals and values.You would find it does a body good.

Since when is immoral to say c.r.a.p. ?

underthehill writes:

in response to chattbud:

Adams, where’s Gruden? This fall you keep whipping the UT fan base up with, Your,..."Gruden’s coming, Gruden’s coming to UT. You’re full of BS. You & your articles are pure fantasies. You seem to always be reporting on the future which you know nothing about. You should stop reporting gossip as facts. Bray & CP have Not left UT. Stop trying to run them off. You are the one that should leave. Go Pro John? LOL

Think how much better UT would be if you could write this stuff instead of John..have you brought this to the attention of the Knoxville News Sentinel...

volnvette03 writes:

in response to volt11:

Who cares if Bray leaves?? He can't play with the big boys anyway. Let him go to the NFL,if he thinks he will be drafted in the 1st round he's dead wrong. Patterson has no choice but to leave, he didn't go to class.

So, what you're saying is if we made a bowl game, he'd be in-eligible? LOL

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to pingkr62:

If they all decide to leave, good luck to them. When a door closes, another opens. This could help U.T. gain some unexpected commitments. G.B.O.!!!

Good point. Some talented high school stud may give UT a closer look if he thinks he could play more with our 2 WRs bolting to the nfl. Sure 'hope' so.

poppatock writes:

in response to DEMS_KEEP_ME_IN_CHAINS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree - CP had how many 15 yd penalties? Bray can't move forward and gain a few yards, better to throw it away and face 2nd & 10, 3rd & 10, punt.

LCPanthers (Inactive) writes:

All three are great players---offense was good--it was the defense that sucked.Wish Bray and Patterson would come back---but probably not,too bad.All one can do is look ahead, and hope things get better.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to mdvol:

Imagine if Hunter, Bray and Patterson had a coach other than Derek Dooley.

Imagine another blowout next yr in Tuscaloosa and CNS is not going anywhere....regardless of what happens in January the Tide will have a great chance of another championship in 2013.

Got 23 skippy? Hill NO but 13 is a DISTANT second place. Roll Tide

EastTnVols962 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tomorrow when you wake up, try taking a leak in the toilet and pouring the milk in your cereal. I feel you'll see the change will brighten up your day. Come on man we all know how much the past couple years have sucked, but we have no reason to doubt Lyle unless he gives us reason to. At least give him a recruiting class and the Orange and White game before jumping to harsh judgments.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

YOU PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS!! I'm speaking to ones that want Bray to leave. First off 4 year senior starters at QB with not much talent are a commodity. Bray has a ton of talent and SEC experience. His first years he had no OL, last year he had no defense. Bray is the first NFL talent since Peyton Manning. You idots wished away Bryce brown, OKU, Janzen Jackson,DaRick Rodgers, Aaron Douglas all NFL caliber talents and look at the dissaster called UT football. You better hope every ounce of talent stays to compete with the Big Boys again. Experience can't be replaced and Bray has more than any returning QB in the SEC. Grow up and realize that 55mph arms dont grow on trees. And quit bashing kids who decide to proceed with their careers. It's their life to lead and their God given talent.

Volbound1700 writes:

I feel the same way about Eric Berry. He was such a talent and loved UT but he played on some of our worse teams.

tovolny writes:

Since John Adams wants Tennessee to be as poor as possible, he writes here as if Bray and Patterson would be crazy not to jump to the NFL. This, after some ESPN people were suggesting they stay for another year. What do you think THE PURPOSE of this article is? 1)...is it reporting any news? 2)...is it asking a particular question? 3)... is he trying to speak to Bray and Patterson directly? 4)...how is this article enhancing our Tennessee pride (you know:GoVolsXtra)? 5)... should this site's name be changed to "Wreck the Vols Extra?" 6)...does John Adams' articles seem biased AGAINST the Vols? 7)...do you think John Adams' has more inside information available than we do? 8)...Do you like John Adams? 9)...can you see through what John Adams is really trying to do? 10)...please finish this sentence: the purpose of this article is.........

bbmon13#478091 writes:

there was no three point loss to Florida in 1993 - it was 7 points, 41-34.

Who cares?

Well there are errors like this in so many articles posted on this site. When errors are made it makes you question the overall information content of articles written. That is, if you care about accuracy.

No it's not the biggest deal - but there are so many things like this in these articles that it calls into question whether or not other items in the articles are true.

Nowadays, no one seems to care about accurate info, they're too lazy to get it right.

bkwats2003#237114 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Can't we at least try and convince them to stay?? I mean they are great athletes, and vol fans are basically talking like they are past tense. It sucks hunter left, but if patterson and bray stay, then we can still have a great offense next year. I wish the media would shut up and stop talking like they are leaving. If bray leaves, he's an idiot, he won't get drafted until late, don't care where he's projected and he'll be the next erik ainge, and patterson....You can't be a VFL if your only here one year, this guy also needs an extra year to work on his route running and his maturity.

Sorry Vol fans, but CP stopped going to class months ago. He couldn't return if he wanted to.

I doubt the team wants Bray back. He is considered an arrogant cry baby and not a team leader at all. I'm sick of these Cali QBs

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

Can't we at least try and convince them to stay?? I mean they are great athletes, and vol fans are basically talking like they are past tense. It sucks hunter left, but if patterson and bray stay, then we can still have a great offense next year. I wish the media would shut up and stop talking like they are leaving. If bray leaves, he's an idiot, he won't get drafted until late, don't care where he's projected and he'll be the next erik ainge, and patterson....You can't be a VFL if your only here one year, this guy also needs an extra year to work on his route running and his maturity.

If we were talking about a video game, any team losing three guys with their raw talent would be weaker without question. We have endlessly dissected each one's particular weaknesses that might be improved by another year of tough competition, competent coaching, and hard work on their parts.

But dealing with real people means that individual and team psychology are at least as important as particular players' skill sets. These guys were not necessarily to blame for the team's shortcomings, but they were still the most visible faces of an underachieving--a relative term--team. On the one hand, they have displayed skills that will give them an opportunity to become rich men, even if they aren't all high draft choices. On the other hand, they could come back to face the college football grind, going to class, not having much money, risking injury, having to learn how to work with a new staff and a new offensive system, and STILL most likely facing beatdowns by the SEC elite.

Having them back would raise the expectations of the fan base beyond what the team's likely capabilities could sustain. The Butch Jones era would get off to a stumbling start. Promising new recruits couldn't be offered as much playing time. The team might be delayed in learning the new system(s). Some of the guys the team will depend on for several years to come wouldn't get as many reps on the first team. I could go on, but I can live with the prospect that they are all gone, and they, the team, the staff, and the fan base will be better off without them, regardless of their undeniable talent.

kevininaugustageorgia writes:

in response to lomas98:

If Patterson was on teams in the 90's he would have played db or would have sat due to not knowing blocking schemes or not being a great route runner.

Maybe, but he would definitely have returned kicks. After a few of those, they would have figured out ways to get him involved more.

When you have a game changer, you work a bit harder to help him figure it all out or to work him in anyway. That's coaching 101, regardless of who is coach.

CummingVol writes:

I'm not saying you're wrong; however, it's a sad commentary for the mindset of college athletes. No wonder there's no loyalty, when everyone tells them they are crazy to stay. There is greater tenure and loyalty to PRO teams in this current climate. These guys take a scholarship and then -- when it works out the way everyone hopes -- they bolt. No wonder so many athletes end up broken and destitute.

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