Jaret Patterson put the college football world on notice in November, rushing for over 400 yards against Kent State. It was the cherry on top for a running back who has been nearly unstoppable from the moment he joined Buffalo’s program.
In his freshman year, Patterson had 1,013 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He took his game to the next level the following season, rushing for 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns.
This past season for Buffalo was shortened due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop Patterson from running for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns. The fact that he accomplished that in just six games speaks volumes about his explosiveness.
Patterson could’ve returned for another season with the Bulls, but he ultimately decided to go pro. He announced his decision in a heartfelt message to the Buffalo community.
“After much prayer, consideration and speaking with my family, I have decided to forgo my senior season and enter the 2021 NFL Draft,” Patterson wrote on Twitter. “I am eager and excited to pursue my dream of earning a position in the NFL. I will be #ForeverABull.”
We sat down with Jaret Patterson to discuss his incredible run at Buffalo, which NFL teams have reached out to him, his thoughts on the narrative surrounding undersized running backs, and much more.
— Jaret Patterson (@__JP26) December 29, 2020
The Spun: You had three-straight 1,000 yard seasons at Buffalo. When you reflect back on your career at Buffalo, what do you think?
Jaret Patterson: It’s a blessing to be that productive throughout my college career. It’s definitely a great résumé to have going to the next step and trying to make it to the NFL. Lot of dedication and hard work that went into that. I had extra workouts, teammates pushing me, coaches trusting me, and a great offensive line to help me get that production. I really can’t take all the credit since there were so many variables that played in a part in that.
The Spun: You had a performance for the ages against Kent State with 409 rushing yards. Did you have a chat with your coach about just missing out on the record?
JP: So that night coach texted me and apologized. He was in the zone and wasn’t too aware about the record. I told him ‘Coach, it’s OK. We won the game. Records don’t mean too much.’ Getting the win was the most important thing to me that day. It was a special day though for me and the university.
Jaret Patterson put on one of the most dominant displays you'll ever see. pic.twitter.com/7CxLwZUwL2
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 28, 2020
The Spun: Before the season began you were receiving praise from Reggie Bush. What was that like?
JP: It meant a lot. It was an honor to have a guy like that, one of the best college players ever from my generation, even notice. That built some momentum for me and got people to take notice.
The Spun: Which running backs do you currently study on film?
JP: I watch guys like Ray Rice, Maurice-Jones Drew and running backs who emulate my size and stature. I also watch Darren Sproles and Barry Sanders. Those guys were undersized, but they got it done at the next level.
— Jon Fuller (@UBJonFuller) December 5, 2020
The Spun: What do you say to anyone who mentions your height as a factor at running back?
JP: I don’t really say anything, I just let my game do the talking. It’s not unheard of for an undersized back to be successful in the NFL. There were guys that came before me, like Rice, Jones-Drew and Sproles.
The Spun: Have you met with any NFL teams yet, and if so, which teams?
JP: A few teams reached out – the Bills, Jets, Titans, Chargers, Chiefs, Patriots. The Cardinals just shot me a text today and said they’ll be reaching out to me as well. I’m just enjoying this process. I tell every team that I’m grateful to be in this position and grateful they’re reaching out to me. Whoever I go to, it doesn’t matter. All I need is and opportunity.
The Spun: How would you feel about potentially staying in Buffalo and joining the Bills?
JP: When you get a chance to have a guy who’s in your backyard, that could be something special. But often times it doesn’t come down to that. I can only control what I can control, but that would definitely be something special for me and the city of Buffalo.
— TheBillsWire (@TheBillsWire) February 17, 2021
The Spun: What are you looking to show at your Pro Day?
JP: I’m just trying to show that I’m a complete back. A lot of teams that I talked to want to see what I run, can I catch, and can I run routes. That’s what I want to show because I can do those things – Buffalo just didn’t require me to do so. If I can show those three things, that’ll help me out a lot.
The Spun: Where do you believe you rank among the running backs in this class?
JP: I feel like I’m the best just because of my mentality toward the game and my approach toward the process. No one works harder than me and has what I bring to the table, having that low-center of gravity, contact balance, elusiveness, and ability to get tough yardage. So I feel like I’m the best running back in this class for sure.
Most yards after contact over the last two seasons:
1. Jaret Patterson – 1,789
2. Travis Etienne – 1,687
3. Chuba Hubbard – 1,632
4. Breece Hall – 1,597 pic.twitter.com/iPcvVeWYrX
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 11, 2021
With most NFL teams adopting a committee approach to the running back position, Jaret Patterson should be on everyone’s radar leading up to the draft.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.