He only played one year for Tennessee football. And it was a year to forget as the Vols went 5-7 and their head coach, Derek Dooley, lost his job. But none of that was the fault of Cordarrelle Patterson or really the entire offense and kicking game.
The Vols only went 5-7 because of a historically bad defense. They were actually amazing at scoring the ball, and part of that was due to Patterson, one of the best players in NCAA history with the ball in open space.
In just one year, Patterson returned 24 kickoffs for 671 yards, an average of 28 yards a kickoff return. He also had one touchdown. Then he returned just four punts for 100 yards, an amazing average of 25 yards a return, and he had a touchdown there.
At that point, Dooley deserves blame in a manner similar to Jones. How could he only have Patterson returning punts sparingly? This guy was clearly an amazing punt returner and should have done it a lot more.
Either way, his numbers were off the charts. Even if it was in just one year, and even if it was a bad year, there’s no way we can leave him off this list. When you put up those type of stats, you are an elite player. There’s no way around it.
Patterson was even more elite than Alvin Kamara when he had the ball. That’s why the Vols called numerous gadget plays just to put it in his hands. And it’s why he was able to leave after just one year for the NFL.