Is North Carolina Defensive End Next?
By: Neil Burnett
Dabo Swinney and his staff had a pretty good week, getting two talented prospects to join the football program; LB Barrett Carter and QB Bubba Chandler. To date, Clemson now has 12 commitments for the 2021 class, currently ranked 4th in the ESPN College football rankings. Dabo is not done.
There is a talented defensive end out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that has Clemson in his final 8, choosing from 22+ plus offers. Clemson is joined by North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and South Carolina. Zaire Patterson is a 6-6 215 lb defensive end, playing for Winston-Salem Prep high school. As a junior, Patterson recorded 129 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 9 sacks and 3 interceptions. Pretty awesome stats, right?
According to ESPN, Patterson is the 29th best defensive end in the 2021 class and the 18th best player in the state of North Carolina. Granted, ESPN is also the site that had Deandre Hopkins ranked as the 28th best wide receiver in the nation coming out of high school. Recruiting isn’t perfect and with literally thousands of players to rank, well, it’s not an exact science.
Whoever gets Patterson will be getting a player with a bright future and the tools to move on to the next level. Who is Patterson favoring right now? He can’t go wrong with Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame or Clemson. South Carolina? Pshhhhhhht. No comment. Kentucky? SEC SEC SEC!!!! Oklahoma? The “no defense” conference? Don’t see it. Clemson would be a great landing spot for the tar heel native. The tigers already have a top talent in Cade Denhoff committed. Both have a year of high school ball left to play, and will likely get bigger. You simply can’t play defensive end in college at 215 or 225 pounds. Coach Batson and his staff will add the weight but the talent is there for both Denhoff and Patterson.
So, who will it be? We will know May 26th.