Meet the Surprise Freshman SEC Running Back that Opened Eyes in Spring Practice

A surprise freshman running back taking the SEC storm from the Kentucky Wildcats? That does not sound right, does it? It may not, but it is looking like it could be true heading into 2024. Patterson is opening eyes in Lexington amongst coaches and media so far this spring, and we dive into his outlook for the Wildcats in 2024 in this article.
Samford v Florida
Samford v Florida / James Gilbert/GettyImages

Kentucky freshman running back Jason Patterson is a name that not many in the SEC have heard of; that is unless you’re a Kentucky Wildcat fan. In that case, you are aware that Patterson has taken spring practice by storm and has emerged as a contender to be the starting running back for the Wildcats in 2024.

While Ohio State transfer running back Chip Traynum and Demie Sumo-Karngabaye currently are slated on the depth chart over Patterson, Patterson seems to be rising quickly and according to an article on Kentucky’s spring practice by ‘s Nick Roush, “Patterson up  and showed the coaches that he can seamlessly make the transition and provide depth without needing to add reinforcements from the transfer portal.”

While Patterson opened a lot of eyes scoring his first touchdown in Kentucky’s spring game, he probably did not surprise himself. According to an article written by  Chris Beasmore of A Sea of Blue, one of Patterson’s goals is the make it to the NFL. However, the difference with Patterson is he seems to be thinking of goals in little steps to get there, which is the right mindset to have.

“I mean a lot of people got a bunch of little goals, like some of my goals may consist of winning the SEC first, then a college football playoff, like the first game,” Patterson told A Sea of Blue.

This kind of mindset of putting one foot in front of the other could serve Patterson well during his time in Lexington, and could be a big part of the reason for his early emergence in spring practice.

After practice a few weeks ago in Lexington, new Kentucky offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan spoke on Patterson stating, “I really have been pleased with Jason Patterson, the running back. No. 26 has done a really nice job. As a young guy, we put him in there with the twos initially. He’s moved up with the ones, really come along.”

With the loss of running back, Re’Mahn Davis to the NFL Draft, the Wildcats have a huge void at the position, even with the addition of Traynum from Ohio State. So the surprising emergence of Patterson in Lexington could spell trouble for the rest of the SEC, and success for the Wildcats. This makes Jason Patterson a name to watch for in 2024.