September 20, 2009

Sanders impressed with Patterson, Rebels

Vincent Sanders found his good friend and former teammate, Patrick Patterson, on Saturday night.

Sanders, a four-star wide receiver from Macon (Noxubee County), Miss., wanted to know how it felt for Patterson, a former four-star wide receiver from the same high school program, to score his first collegiate touchdown.

Patterson caught four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in No. 4 Ole Miss' 52-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana, but he couldn't answer Sanders' question.

"He said he didn't know how it felt yet," Sanders said with a laugh on Sunday afternoon. "He was too excited."

Ole Miss hopes Sanders gets a chance to find out for himself next fall, and following Sanders' unofficial visit to Oxford for the Rebels' home opener, that appears to be more of a possibility than ever before.

"It went pretty good," Sanders said of his trip to Ole Miss. "I was impressed by the new turf they have on the field. I was also impressed by Patrick Patterson's performance yesterday. I was impressed with the whole team, but by his catches. I was impressed walking down the tunnel at the new pictures they have up. But seeing (Patterson) out there catching a touchdown and getting excited, I was thinking about how I'd feel catching a touchdown as a freshman. That's something I'm looking forward to."

Ole Miss threw the football 31 times against the Lions, completing 20 for 242 passing yards and three touchdowns. The Rebels had 35 rushes for 258 yards in the running game. Sanders was impressed by the offensive balance, adding that he kept a close eye on the Rebels' receivers.

"I could see myself playing there," Sanders said. "I was paying attention yesterday. It wouldn't be hard for me to adjust to the system once I learn the playbook."

Ole Miss loses Shay Hodge and Dexter McCluster to graduation after this season. Backups Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux will be seniors next season. That has made Sanders one of Ole Miss' top priorities for the 2010 signing class, a point that was hammered home during a pre-game visit with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and running backs coach Derrick Nix.

"Me and Coach Nutt and Coach Nix and (Monticello, Miss., four-star athlete) Matthew Wells were sitting down watching the Tennessee-Florida game before it was time for them to prepare for the game," said Sanders, who has missed several of Noxubee County's recent games after suffering a broken jaw in his team's season opener. "We talked about our injuries. Coach Nutt was telling me about when he was at Oklahoma State, one of his players broke his jaw. He was telling me to take it slow."

Sanders said he'll likely miss one more game before his tentatively planned return for the Tigers' Oct. 2 district opener against Kosciusko. He said he plans to be in Starkville on Saturday when the Bulldogs entertain LSU. He said he'll be watching Mississippi State's offense with interest, comparing it to what he saw in Oxford.

"I think it's different because Mississippi State doesn't really throw the ball down the field," Sanders said. "Ole Miss takes a lot of shots down the field. Mississippi State doesn't have the receivers and the quarterbacks to do that. Ole Miss takes shots down the field. I kind of look at that. I think I'm a deep threat. I like the ball thrown down the field. You never know once you get there how they'll make changes. It's not a big advantage right now."

Sanders, who said he doesn't plan to make a decision until much closer to National Signing Day in February, said he doesn't yet have a leader. In addition to the scholarship offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Sanders also has offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

"I'm still open," said Sanders, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 12 wide receiver and the No. 103 overall prospect.

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