ARLINGTON, Texas – When Larry Fedora replaced Butch Davis as the head coach at North Carolina, four-star offensive guard Jay Jay Patterson (Roanoke Rapids, N.C.) – like several other North Carolina commitments – had questions.
After speaking with Fedora, Patterson’s inquiries were silenced, and his commitment to the Tar Heels stood firm. Patterson now will use Thursday’s Offense-Defense All-American Bowl as practice for upcoming FBS competition. Patterson, who will suit up for the East team, will line up against defensive linemen who have committed to SEC and Big Ten schools.
“There’s a lot more competition here. Everyone is at your level,” said Patterson, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound guard. “This will help me be heads-up on college. It won’t hit me all at one time. I feel like I’m learning a lot here.”
Patterson will play at Cowboys Stadium on Thursday, and after that, he will focus on polishing his game for Fedora and the Tar Heels. Originally recruited as a versatile interior lineman because of his strength (440-pound bench press, 600-pound dead lift), Patterson said Fedora has marked him to be on offense at the guard spot.
“He’s pretty astute,” Patterson said of Fedora. “You could tell he was ecstatic about coming to UNC. He said he watched my film and said he’s excited about coaching me. I’m excited about the chance.
“I liked Davis. He was a good coach, but I like Fedora, too. I feel like I can really fit into his system. I was going to UNC as a defensive tackle or a guard, but with him, I know I’ll be a guard. I feel like I can help the team out there.”
With running backs coach Ken Browning as his primary recruiter, Patterson committed to North Carolina in April. He chose the Tar Heels over offers from North Carolina State and East Carolina. Patterson also received interest from Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Nebraska.