Even as a middle-schooler, Drew Patterson had the mindfulness and self-awareness to realize where his path in baseball resided.
“I wasn’t a very good hitter,” said Patterson.
So that meant Patterson knew he would need to pitch.
And pitched, he has.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior from Farragut went a combined 8-1 with 57 strikeouts and an ERA around 3.00 in his underclassman seasons with the Admirals.
But on Thursday, the left-hander turned into an even more valuable commodity; that’s when he announced on Twitter his verbal commitment to the University of Tennessee.
I am excited to announce my commitment to further my academic and baseball career under Coach Vitello at the University of Tennessee! I appreciate all the support from my family, coaches, and teammates. #govols @Vol_Baseball @AdmiralGameday @eXposureBB @PBRTennessee pic.twitter.com/2Hjvvxxrwf
— Drew Patterson (@baseballdrew20) October 18, 2018
Patterson was also considering Belmont, but the Vols popped onto the scene within the last few weeks and that was all it took.
“I went to Tennessee (on Wednesday), and it just felt right,” said Patterson. “They offered a week and a half ago. It was on Fall Break.
“Tennessee has always been my dream school, so I’m really excited. But it also puts it into perspective when you get on campus for a practice or something. You see that you have to work a lot harder, even though you thought you were working hard already. There can always be more.”
With a fastball in the low-to-mid 80s, Patterson knows his velocity needs to spike a little bit more before reaching play in the SEC. He also realizes he’ll have to work longer in games at the next level. Still, he has two years left in high school to make improvements.
But being a lefty with a variety of pitches has certainly taken him this far. Patterson throws a “slurve” — which is a hybrid mix of a slider and a curveball — along with a change-up, two-seam fastball and four-seam fastball.
“I’m not a big power guy,” said Patterson. “While not being a flashy pitcher with a lot of power, it definitely helps being a lefty with some movement on your fastball.”
OTHER RECRUITING NEWS…
Jake Renfree, one of the area’s top cross-country runners, committed to Notre Dame on Oct. 15. He won the Region 2 championship last season and finished fifth nationally in an elite field of competitors at the 2017 Foot Locker Nationals.
Congrats to Jake Renfree on his college decision. ND is getting a heck of a runner. Go Irish! pic.twitter.com/6xWOy24WC9
— Irish XC/T&F (@kchsxctf) October 15, 2018
On Oct. 12, Oak Ridge girls’ basketball standout Jada Guinn committed to a nearby Division I program. Guinn helped Oak Ridge go 25-7 and reach the Class AAA state sectionals last season.
wings up🦅💜💛 pic.twitter.com/N0NdLbVP2q
— jada (@jada_guinn23) October 12, 2018
Grace Christian infielder Noah Gent, the Division II-A Mr. Baseball winner in 2018, announced his college commitment also on Oct. 12.
I am beyond excited to announce that I have committed to Walters State to further my academic and baseball career. Big thanks to everyone who has helped me along this journey. Not done yet! pic.twitter.com/QiG8Ho3P4t
— Noah Gent ™ (@gent_noah) October 12, 2018
Hardin Valley Academy senior baseball player Bryce Jenkins committed on Oct. 14.
— Bryce Jenkins (@bryce10jenkins) October 14, 2018
Local football players picking up scholarship offers of late include: Oak Ridge linebacker Jeremy Mitchell (Eastern Illinois), Alcoa WR/DB Ahmaudd Sankey (Tulane) and Nakelin McAfee (Tulane)