Buffalo junior RB Jaret Patterson declares for NFL draft

NCAA Football

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson is foregoing his senior year by declaring for the NFL draft on Tuesday following a season in which he matched several national records.

Patterson announced the decision on his Twitter account five days after Buffalo (6-1) completed its season with a 17-10 win over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl.

The decision does not come as a surprise after Patterson reversed course and elected to not play against Marshall a few days before the game. Patterson sat out rather than risk aggravating an injury to his right knee sustained in Buffalo’s loss to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference championship game on Dec. 18.

Patterson this week joined current Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack in becoming the Bulls’ second player to earn All-America honors. He was selected to the second team.

”I am eager and excited to pursue my dream of earning a position in the NFL,” Patterson wrote in the message, which included him pictured in his Bulls No. 26 uniform. ”I will be (hash)foreverabull.”

In six games, the 21-year-old from Maryland led the nation with 178.7 yards rushing per outing and finished with 1,072 yards. He matched his own school record from 2019 with 19 touchdowns rushing.

In Buffalo’s regular-season finale against Akron, Patterson matched a major college football record by becoming the 12th player to reach 1,000 yards rushing in just five games.

He gained national attention last month after finishing with 409 yards rushing and matching a single-game major college record by scoring eight touchdowns in a 70-41 win at Kent State. His rushing total was the second-best in FBS history, and was 18 yards shy of the record set by Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine in 2014.

Patterson had 301 yards rushing the previous week to join former Texas star Ricky Williams as the second college player to top 300 yards in consecutive weeks.

Patterson thanked his family, coaches, teammates, professors and fellow students for their support and guidance during his three years at Buffalo. He wrote he was especially grateful to the football program for ”taking a chance on me and opening the door when many others closed it.”

”We’re happy for Jaret and his family,” coach Lance Leipold said. ”His accolades on the field speak for themselves, yet it is his leadership and the way he represents our program that will ultimately help him succeed at the next level. We are thankful for all he has done for our program and he will forever be a Bull.”

Buffalo was among the few schools willing to offer Patterson and his twin brother James a scholarship. The two were a package deal, with James Patterson, a linebacker, attracting more attention. Jaret Patterson was often overlooked because he was just 5-foot-9.

Patterson went on to top 1,000 yards rushing in each of his three seasons. He finished with 3,884 yards rushing – 165 short of matching the school record held by Brandon ”Bo” Oliver – and 53 touchdowns (including one receiving) in 32 career games.

”To my teammates, my brothers, we battled through adversity and have rewritten the record books,” Patterson wrote. ”I will forever cherish the laughs and the memories that we have created together. We have a brotherhood and a bond that can never be broken.”

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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