FORMER DRAGON CORDARRELLE PATTERSON TO PLAY IN PRO BOWL ON SUNDAY
Cordarrelle Patterson has made NFL fans collectively drop their jaws in amazement after a truly incredible rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings.
But it was only two years ago that Hutchinson Community College fans were watching make acrobatic catches, overpower defenders and zig-zag his way through opposing coverage teams first hand at Gowans Stadium.
Now Hutchinson's record-setting receiver/return specialist and two-time All-American will culminate his spectacular first season in the NFL by playing in Sunday's Pro Bowl (Game time is 5:30 p.m. on FOX).
One of three Vikings' first-round picks - Patterson was the 29th overall selection - from the 2013 NFL Draft, Patterson was primarily used as a kickoff return specialist to start the 2013 season.
All he did was set an unbreakable NFL record for the longest kickoff return in league history of 109 yards against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27.
For the season, Patterson returned 43 kickoffs for an average of 32.4 yards per return, one of the best return averages in NFL history.
Midway through the season, the Vikings started using Patterson in much the same way Blue Dragon head coach Rion Rhoades utilized the athletically gifted player from Rock Hill, S.C.
Patterson finished his rookie season with 45 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 10.4 yards per reception and had a long of 79 yards. He rushed the ball 12 times, three went for touchdowns. Patterson tallied 158 rushing yards, averaging 13.2 times per rush with a long of 50.
In addition to his NFL kickoff record, Patterson became the first NFL player in history to record a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 75-yard touchdown reception for a touchdown and a 50-yard rushing touchdown in the same season.
Patterson posted other Vikings' season records for:
+ Most kickoff returns in a season - 1,393
+ Highest kickoff return average for a season - 32.4
+ Longest rushing play by a receiver - 50 yards
All of that helped Patterson be named the only rookie starter on the Associated Press' 2013 All-Pro Team as a kick returner.
And now on Sunday, Patterson will be in Hawaii playing for Team Sanders in the Pro Bowl.
Just two years ago, Patterson wrapped up a stellar two-year career under Rhoades right here at Hutchinson Community College.
Patterson was only the third Blue Dragon ever to be a two-time NJCAA All-American. Patterson was also named the 2011 Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Year. When he completed his HCC career, he owned 16 career or single-season or single-game Blue Dragon Dragons records.
In 2011, Patterson caught a career-high 61 passes for 924 yards and he accounted for 1,814 all-purpose yards in helping the Blue Dragons.
The 61 receptions are a school record and the 924 yards rank fourth-best in a single season. He also set a record for single-season all-purpose yardage and had three 200-plus-yard all-purpose yardage games this season and five for his career.
Other single-season offensive records include: Scoring (144 points), total touchdowns (24), and receiving touchdowns (15).
As a kick returner, Patterson averaged an NJCAA-best and HCC single-season record 51.1 yards per return average on 12 returns with three touchdowns. Patterson owns three of the top four all-time kickoff returns with TDs of 98, 97 and 96 yards in his career. He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns against Kilgore in the 2011 season opener.
Patterson was also been a threat running the ball with 379 yards on just 32 carries (11.8 yards per rush).
Patterson accounted for 1,686 yards of all-purpose offense and averaged 17.6 yards every time he touched the football. He broke 200 all-purpose yards three times this season.
The versatile receiver scored 15 receiving touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns and three touchdowns on kickoff returns. His 15 receiving touchdowns and 24 overall touchdowns are single-season records as well as his 144 points scored in 12 games. Patterson scored touchdowns in 20 of 23 games played in his HCC career.
During his one season at Tennessee, Patterson finished with terrific all-around numbers. He had 46 catches for 778 yards and 25 carries for 308 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns, including a kickoff return and a punt return. He even completed a pass for 28 yards. Patterson was named first-team All-SEC.