The Iowa Hawkeyes under head coach Kirk Ferentz have been predicated on a few common principles. Among them is establishing the run to both control the clock and limit turnovers.
That’s often easier said than done, but in Iowa’s zone running scheme it depends on five quality offensive linemen and a running back with good balance, vision and an ability to burst through a hole to take runs to the next level. If you were writing a description of Deerfield Beach, Florida running back Jaziun Patterson, that’s a pretty good starting point.
Today, he’s officially an Iowa Hawkeye.
From South Florida to Iowa City – a complete back joins the Hawks.— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 15, 2021
Welcome home, @j4thegreat1! #Swarm22 | #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/zQQnaL8yN4
Patterson is an explosive back with a good frame. At 5’10” and around 190 pounds as a senior, Patterson has a similar build to Tyler Goodson coming out of high school. He doesn’t appear quite as shifty as Goodson, but his top end speed may be a touch better.
Playing in Florida’s class 8A, the largest in the state, Patterson routinely ran away from would-be tacklers for big gains. While no official stats are available for his senior season, a rough estimate puts him around 900-950 rushing yards (and around 10 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns. Those came on a mix of explosive plays and tough goal line running.
His high school offense was ran primarily out of shotgun, which might make the transition to Iowa’s offense take a bit longer. However, Patterson shows solid vision and decisiveness. He routinely picks a hole, makes one cut and shows great burst to get to the next level.
Patterson’s senior film doesn’t show much in the way of pass catching, but he’s more than capable in that area as well. We get a glimpse of that in his film as a sophomore and junior, when he racked up more than 900 yards and 15 TDs while averaging more than 7.5 yards per carry.
But he really showed off those abilities on the camp circuit. It’s part of what had propelled him to a 4-star rating early on in the process and helped him earn offers from a slew of power 5 programs, as well as MVP honors at Rivals’ 5-star camp.
Four-star RB Jaziun Patterson sealed up the MVP award during the best on best portion of 1on1s! Here's a handful of his best plays from today's @RivalsCamp in Miami.— Rivals (@Rivals) April 18, 2021
Patterson's Rivals Profile: https://t.co/cWoPtjvQKO pic.twitter.com/wsRXr2JWmz
At one time in his recruitment, Patterson held offers from a who’s who in college football. His size and speed garnered attention from the best of the best with offers coming from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, Texas A&M and others. During the COVID season, Patterson says he put on some bad weight and lost some of his explosion. That led to some offers drying up, but he ultimately had a top-10 list that included Auburn, Indiana, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina and Texas A&M in addition to Iowa.
You can see on his senior film that bad weight has been cut and the Hawkeyes got a good one. As for why Iowa, here’s what Patterson had to say for himself in an article he penned for the Palm Beach Post following his commitment:
This wasn’t that hard of a decision for me. I like Iowa. I like the people there.
I feel their intentions are genuine. I don’t feel like they’re trying to trick me into coming to their school. The way they were played a big part for me. It’s important, the people you surround yourself with.
Iowa is a lot different from South Florida.
Snow? I’ve never seen it. But there’s a first time for everything. I have jackets for cold weather, so I’ll be good.
I like that everything on campus is so close. The dorms are close to the football facility, so it’s easy to maneuver and get around quick.
It all slowed down during the pandemic. I didn’t get a spring, summer, none of that. Most of 2020, I sat around the house and put on weight. I put on like 20 or 30 pounds. I couldn’t really do anything outside the house from fear of covid until November.
Last season I played at 215 pounds. I felt way different. I didn’t feel good at all – physically or mentally. I couldn’t really move the way I wanted to. I was more like a power back and I couldn’t really get away from defenders. When I lost the weight, I felt way better. I felt like myself again.
If you’re an Iowa fan, here’s what you should know about me: I’m humble. I work hard and I’m a competitor. I love competition.
And I’m ready.
Patterson is one of two backs the Hawkeyes have on board in the class of 202. He joins Ohio native Kaleb Johnson who was at one time committed to Cal. Johnson is a bigger back with a bit less top end speed who should make a tremendous 1-2 punch with the smaller Patterson.
While Johnson will be a summer enrollee, Patterson is set to enroll at Iowa at semester. He’ll be in Iowa City beginning in January to participate in spring practice with the Hawkeyes.
Welcome aboard, officially, Jaziun Patterson!