Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.) four-star defensive back Nigel Patten is pretty much always proving people wrong, especially when it comes to proving his ability over his stature.
Standing just 5-foot-9 and weighing in at 172 pounds, the talented junior has heard it all before about how he's not the prototypical-sized player that everyone’s looking for at the cornerback position, but he's never let that stop him before and he doesn't plan on letting it deter him now.
“I never get mad at people criticizing my size because I just use that as motivation,” explained Patten. “I feel I can cover any receiver out there and I want my opponents best. I work hard every day in practice on covering big receivers and I'll continue working as hard as I can to become the best. “In my opinion, size really doesn't matter at cornerback position because either you can cover or you can’t. It's just that simple.”
In 2012, the electrifying defender helped lead Washington to a 13-1 record and in the process grabbed a state championship ring with a dominant victory over perennial state powerhouse Bolles, 35-7.
Patten would finish the year with 32 tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass breakups. There's no doubt this kid can play and a number of college programs like Duke, Florida State, Indiana, Miami (FL), Mississippi, Tennessee and Utah seem to agree with that statement also.
“Recruiting’s been going really well and I've been picking up a lot of offers lately,” he claimed. “I'm up to nine offers now and I'm very blessed.
“Ever since I was a freshman I hoped the day would come when I’d be getting some offers and I'm extremely excited that it's finally here.”
Though it may sound surprising to some, just because of his geographic location, but one school he still hoping to hear from is the Fighting Irish and it's fair to say that their recent treatment of the hometown Hurricanes is one of the main reasons they've really piqued his interest.
“I'm very interested in Notre Dame and I hope to hear from them soon,” admitted Patten. “All I know about them is that they have a tremendous football program that played in the national championship game last season and their putting players like Manti Te’o into the league.
“I also know that Miami, which is my hometown team, is a big-time rival and Notre Dame's been beating them a lot lately.”
While many people think that he's a lock to stay in the ‘Sunshine State’ when he chooses a college, the Washington standout says that's just not true.
“It really doesn't matter to me whether I stay in Florida to play football or not,” he said bluntly. “Wherever I feel I could go, and succeed at life and football, that's where I'll go. If that means I have to go to Alaska to play, that's where I'll go and fit in.”
With the recruiting process really picking up, Patten can't wait to see what happens next and as of right now he's just absorbing the whole experience. He knows that sooner or later he'll need to get out and see what these programs have to offer, but as of right now he wants to see who is really serious in getting a multi-talented cornerback.
“I really think my decision is going to come down to who’s recruiting me the hardest,” he admitted. “It's going to be who's showing me the most interest and where I feel most comfortable at.
“I haven't really made any plans to go visit anyplace yet, because I'm in the middle of track season, so I'm just concentrating on that at this time. I know if Notre Dame decides they're interested in me that would definitely be one school I would plan on going to visit.”