We checked out the Long Beach Poly (Calif.)- Corona (Calif.) Centennial game Friday night and the best player on the field in our eyes was Jackrabbit receiver Travon Patterson. Although not as heralded as his talented receiver teammate, Terrence Austin, Patterson could be the better college prospect.
Patterson, 5-9, 160 pounds is an electric athlete with the best run-after-catch ability of any receiver in the state. He doesn't have the pure straight ahead speed of Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft's Jamere Holland, but no other receiver can make people miss like Patterson and that was evident on Poly's first offensive possession.
After forcing the Huskies to punt on their first possession, Patterson returned the ensuing kick 81 yards for a touchdown where he juked three players and then took off.
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"He's our speed guy all the way," Poly WR coach Reggie Ward said. "He's a legit 10.5 (100m) kid and is the fastest player on our team. That's the main difference between Travon and Terrence. Both are great players don't get me wrong, but if you're looking for that game breaker type who can catch a short hitch, make a bunch of guys miss and then take it to the house, that's Travon."
Austin had the better showing at the SoCal Nike Camp as well as USC's elite camp but according to Ward, there was a good reason for that.
"Travon was still in track shape during all the camp," Ward said. "Terrence didn't have as good a track season as he hoped but it did allow him to start training a lot harder and earlier for the camps. Travon made it all the way to the state finals in the 100m and during track season, his whole focus was on track, nothing else. So when the Nike camp in April came around, Travon was still heavily involved in track and couldn't really show what he's capable of."
During the game, Patterson added a 29 yard touchdown reception and a 57 yard kickoff return where he weaved through the Husky kickoff team and looked like he might take that one to the house as well. Basically, every time Patterson touched the ball, you could almost feel the crowd
On the recruiting front, Patterson has two visits set up and said he has a solid top two right now.
"USC and Oregon are my two favorites right now," Patterson said. "I also like a few other schools like Washington State, Arizona, Oregon State and Utah. I'm going to visit Washington State (Oct. 21) and Oregon (Jan. 6). Me and Vincent (Joseph) are going to Washington State together and then a bunch of us are going on that visit to Oregon. USC has stepped up their recruiting of me recently and I like them a lot.