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Monday, August 12, 2013

Freshman File: Andre Patton says approach hasn't changed at Rutgers

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

Even at 6-foot-4, Andre Patton still looks up to Brandon Coleman.

The wiry true freshman has drawn head coach Kyle Flood's attention, namely through Saturday's first scrimmage at High Point Solutions Stadium. For his part, Patton has tried to emulate the hulking 6-foot-6 Coleman, the blueprint for Rutgers' receivers.

"I started talking to him way back in December," Patton said Saturday of Coleman, who hosted Patton on his recruiting visit. "He's been with me through basically the whole process. I appreciate that."

Patton hasn't gotten much of a glimpse of Coleman during training camp as Coleman rehabs from offseason knee surgery. The junior is reclusive in his training, opting for distant parts of Rutgers' F1 field at times as he stretches his knee.

Still, Patton says there are some takeaways.

"As receivers, we don't want the (defensive backs') hands on us," he said. "I feel like his body and how strong he is, it just comes easy when you want to swipe a defender's hands down. I feel like I need to work on that, also getting out of cuts and running."

RELATED: WR Janarion Grant talks punt returns, speed and more

Patton's adjustment has been minimal, in part because of the pro-style system he ran at St. Elizabeth (Del.). He also says he's brought a consistent mental focus.

"I feel like I just have to go hard every day," Patton said. "Coming in as a freshmen, sometimes freshmen don't really grasp the game. I feel like I can do that as long as I work hard."

He learned it working on Rutgers' scout team, lining up against its first- and second-team defenses. A half-dozen receivers have built up equity in front of him, but early returns from Patton have been positive.

RELATED: Kyle Flood praises Andre Patton's scrimmage

"The competition is definitely a lot harder," he said. "It's more up-tempo, playing with grown men. In high school, it's 16-, 17-year-olds. Now you're playing with 20-year-olds, 23-year-olds. The intensity is just higher."

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