Jacques Patrick was just 15 years old when his first college football scholarship offers rolled in and it was a bit overwhelming.
One year and 27 more scholarship offers later, the sophomore running back at Orlando’s Timber Creek High is starting to get used to the attention.
There are hundreds of thousands of senior football players across the country who are still waiting on their first college football scholarship offer. Most can’t even imagine getting scholarship offers to play football at schools like Alabama and Notre Dame.
So when the coaches of the two teams that just played in the BCS National Championship Game invite you to come play for them, it’s certainly special. When you’re only 16 years old, it’s surreal.
Despite his youth, he understands his status as an elite football player.
But still, Alabama and Notre Dame?
“It’s pretty special knowing that I have offers from the two best teams in college football last season,” Patrick said this week, after offer No. 25 came rolling in from the Fighting Irish.
Louisville came knocking on Friday and then West Virginia on Saturday, USF on Sunday. The 2015 phenom has 28 offers and counting.
He has offers from the state’s Big Three, calling Florida and Florida State his current frontrunners. Miami and UCF are also onboard.
Patrick could become the most heavily recruited prospect ever to come out of Central Florida by his senior season.
It still doesn’t seem to have fazed him.
“Ques,” as his friends call him, still rolls around town with his crew, supporting his friends at their events if he’s not involved. Last week he went to the National Underclassmen Combine 5-Star Showcase in Kissimmee, where good friend and former Timber Creek player C.J. Jennings was showing off his skills. Jennings now plays at Orlando Jones, but he’s still part of Patrick’s circle of friends.
Patrick runs with the same crowd he always has — Timber Creek quarterback Stuckey Mosley, linebacker Mitchell Estrada, receiver Javonte Seabury and Jennings. Seabury is Patrick’s brother. Patrick also spends time with Timber Creek senior safety Chris Board, but he’ll be heading to North Dakota State this summer.
“Nah, he hasn’t changed,” Estrada said of Patrick. “He looks at it as a blessing and he’s just thankful for what he has. He works hard and knows what he has to do.
“We do make fun of him sometimes, though. Like when he says he doesn’t want to do something, we’ll give him a hard time and tell him, ‘Oh, Mr. 27 offers doesn’t need to do that.’ Just stuff like that and he starts laughing.”
When asked if he’s finally figured out that he’s a pretty big deal, Patrick said, “I wouldn’t say that, but it’s cool being known everywhere I go.”
In his first two seasons of high school football, which started at Orlando East River, he’s run for more than 3,000 yards and scored 39 touchdowns.
Most consider him an athlete because the experts figure the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Patrick will grow out of his running back position by the time he’s a senior. He’s projected as one of the top five players in the country for his graduating class, yet no one is sure what position he will even play.
For now, however, it’s clear. He’s a running back at Timber Creek and coach Jimmy Buckridge will be handing him the ball for two more seasons.
Handing it to him over and over and over.