The depth chart for the 2015 season is still coming together, but there is a surprising name among the upper classmen on the offensive line. Today's player is coming off of his redshirt season and could beat out an established junior at one of the starting guard spots.
Martesse Patterson - Fr. (RS)
Columbus, OH (Marion-Franklin HS)
6'4", 345 pounds
2015 Projection: Possible starter at offensive guard
Patterson had a great year and a great spring. He is now listed as a projected starter at guard ahead of the established Jordan Roos, and at 6'4" and 345 pounds he could be a literal huge asset. He has nearly 30 pounds on Roos, but weight isn't everything when Jason King is over 100 pounds below the massive Corey Clements, yet starts at the other guard spot.
It is still impressive that Patterson is ahead of Roos, who has been starting since 2013. The Indy Star recently profiled Patterson as he came out of the spring:
Patterson didn't start playing football until his sophomore year at Marion-Franklin High School in Columbus, Ohio. He wanted to become a basketball star and weighing 260 gave Patterson the freedom to showcase his dunking and overall skills on the court.
Once Patterson was informed he lacked the size to become a Division I player, the better option was parlaying his athletics skills with football.
"I never really liked football at first. I had a love for basketball and I wanted to be a basketball player," he said. "I love the game now. I feel like I'm good at it and I just like playing it. It's a part of me."
Patterson's first scholarship offer came from Jim Bridge when the offensive line coach was at Illinois. When Bridge moved to Purdue, Patterson remained a high priority.
"They came in for another guy on my (high school) team and my coach had given them my film and coach Bridge liked me," Patterson said. "Me and coach Bridge had a real good connection back in high school. That's how we built the relationship and I felt like this was the best choice."
With so many new skill players on offense this year the offensive line is in even more of a spotlight than usual. It looks like Patterson could be a major asset and an anchor of the line for years to come.