Hello everyone, my name is Matt Patchan. This is my first time writing a blog so forgive me if these first couple entries are a little awkward, but after a couple I will have the process down.
Let me start by giving you a little background information on who I am and what I do. My mother was a 9th generation Key West Conch born on the island and met my father while he was playing football in college for the University of Miami. My father played there from 1983-1987. He then went on to play a few seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles. I am the oldest one of three brothers. They are both very skilled athletes as well.
I am 22 years old and was born in the month of April. In high school, I became a nationally recruited athlete, receiving around 100 scholarship offers. I graduated early from Armwood High School in December of 2007 and came to Florida in January of the next year when I was only 17. I am now just a few credit hours away from graduating with a double major and a minor this December and should I decide to stay for my 6th year, I would start grad school.
One of my favorite pastimes when I go home is to play ping pong with my brothers on our back patio. My brothers built the ping pong table that we play on. My family is highly competitive and these ping pong games usually end up turning into backyard wars. Games frequently end in shouting matches, broken paddles and even an occasional hole in the wall between us brothers. I feel like this practice of ping pong is a great example of my family’s competitive edge and disdain of losing. This competitiveness carries over to the football field in the passion I play with.
On the field I am currently entering my 5th year of college football. As a freshman on the 2008 National Championship team, I started the year off hurt before getting some playing time. I was completely undersized as a 3-technique, defensive tackle who lines up between the guard and tackle, and nose guard and played some defensive end until I tore my MCL while making a sack in the 11th game of the season vs. The Citadel. My true sophomore year I switched to the offensive line and rotated at the left tackle position where I earned the starting job during the 4th game of the season.
My season, however, came to an end the following week when I tore my ACL. Fortunately, I was given a medical redshirt. After a year of rehab I was ready to go by the fall of my redshirt sophomore year, but then I underwent a season ending wrist injury. These two injuries forced me to obtain back to back medical redshirts and kept me out of football for two years. During my time away from football, there were also some other negative things beyond my control off the field. These factors made it a very tough time for me as an athlete.
After those two difficult seasons, I came back and played last year. I was very excited about how I finished the season and how consistently I played against the best teams in the nation. I was not perfect but I have now set myself up to have a great offseason and exceptional season on the field this year.
Going through all this and much more, I have had some unique life experiences that normal football players do not go through and can hopefully shed some light on what it means to be a college football player in the SEC. Through this blog, I hope I can keep you informed as we prepare for a new season.