Miami football Freshman Zaquan Patterson could challenge for starting safety

Freshman Zaquan Patterson has a chance to challenge to be a starting safety this spring per long time South Florida recruiting analyst Larry Blustein as told to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Chaminade-Madonna's Zaquan Patterson (12) walks off the field to meet with his team during a
Chaminade-Madonna's Zaquan Patterson (12) walks off the field to meet with his team during a / Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA
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The departures of starting safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams to the NFL Draft provide the Miami football players at the position an opportunity to earn starting spots. Transfers Mishael Powell of Washington and Savion Riley of Vanderbilt are the projected starting safeties in 2024.

Longtime South Florida recruiting analyst Larry Blustein told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that freshman Zaquan Patterson compares to Kinchens. Patterson could challenge Powell and Riley to be a starting safety this spring and into August training camp.

Jackson said, "Talented early enrollee Zaquan Patterson seemingly will get every chance to win the starting safety job opposite Washington transfer Mishael Powell.“ Other than Powell, Miami has little experience at safety. Powell played in 36 games in the last three years at Washington with 25 starts.

Brian Balom, Jaden Harris and Riley have four combined starts in their careers. No other safeties on the Miami roster have started. Powell should become the leader of the 2024 Miami secondary. Patterson will have a chance to start as the most talented safety on the 2024 Miami roster.

"“He could be another Kam Kinchens...He’s physical, versatile, can play the run, can drop back in pass coverage.”"

Larry Blustein via Miami Herald

Patterson is the 92nd signee, sixth safety and 14th player in Florida in the 2024 class. In three seasons at Chaminade-Madonna in high school, Patterson had 194 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, 12 interceptions, 16 pass breakups, seven blocked punts and two blocked kicks per Max Preps.

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Andrew Ivins, the 247Sports Director of Scouting, describes Patterson as a versatile defender who is a "natural body striker" who is becoming comfortable in man or zone coverage. Patterson could eventually grow into a three-down linebacker, per Ivins. The expectation should be for Patterson to have some impact as a freshman.