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As we go through the instructions on the article, I could sense the excitement from his voice and words he used to express his gratitude. This seems as if this is what to be expected from his future in football.
Anthony Patrick played linebacker for Bethel University. He was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee with his three sisters and Mother. One of his sister is his twin, Ashley.
The 6’1″ outside linebacker was inspired by family to play the sport he loves. “In 4th grade, I would play with my cousin all the time in the backyard, throwing the football,” stated Patrick. He didn’t play organize football until he was in the sixth grade.
Another person who has played a major part in his football life is former San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker, Patrick Willis. The All-Pro was Patrick’s favorite player growing up and once he got a chance to meet him, they connected.
“After a clinic he did at my school, we just clicked,” said Patrick. “We talked and he told me about his life which related to me.” Willis is his mentor now and they still stay in contact today.
Like his favorite player, the standout linebacker displays quickness while able to shed blockers and get to the runner or pass catcher. His relentlessness to the ball carrier compliments his ability to make solo tackles throughout the game.
“I have a high motor and I’m able to diagnose plays fast,” mentioned the Nashville native. His aggression to fill the holes and meet the runner with being able to run sideline-to-sideline reminds his coaches of Willis because of the passion Patrick plays with.
What sparked this aggression was always being overlooked by coaches and spectators.
Leading up to his junior year in high school, he didn’t get the opportunity he was actually looking for. Once he finally got it, he flourished at the position.
He started out his college career at Tusculum University. After the coaching staff got fired, the new coaches wanted the hard hitting linebacker to move to fullback. Knowing that the fullback position is scarce in the NFL, he decided to move on and transfer to Bethel.
“I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t want to go through life having any regrets,” said Patrick.
He proved himself to be right, especially during a particular game in a thriller double-overtime game against Cumberland University. “After watching film that whole week, I knew what plays they were running,” remembered Patrick. He made three stops in a row at the goal line.
“I have a high motor and I’m able to diagnose plays fast”
Football was finally going in the right direction. His life was moving along almost perfectly until some disturbing news surfaced.
“Everything was going great until I found out my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” stated Patrick. As bad as that was getting horrible news like that, it got worst.
He received terrible news during the summer before the season. He found out that his mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. “I was like man, I can’t win for losing,” remembered Patrick.
To add insult to injury, he suffered a high ankle sprain which caused him to miss time. At this point, this was basically the last straw.
“I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t want go through life having any regrets”
Patrick reverted back to what his mother taught him when it came to going through hard times. “When it comes to adversity, I have to use everything as fuel to help me grow to take me to my destination.”
Adversity isn’t the only inspiration for the former redshirted freshman. When it comes to his nephew Kileion, Patrick is more driven to succeed and achieve his goals.
“I live my life as a sacrifice for him, to be the first man in his life to play college football and to graduate college. I want to show him that if you be obedient to your calling, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Patrick’s faith and good works have created opportunities for him to display his talents in front of NFL and CFL scouts. He was invited to play in the National Bowl, a bowl game for the top Division II players in Daytona, Florida.
Patrick drew interest from the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets and was able to interview with them. He’s also been in talks with the New York Giants’ scouts as well.
He’s also been invited to the HBCU Spirit Bowl and the 2019 National Scouting Combine by the Beyond Sports Network, which is held in Indianapolis, Indiana the same week as the NFL Combine.
Like many, Patrick’s goal is to make it to the professional level, in particular, the NFL. But that’s not all he wants to do.
“I want to start a non-profit organization that will give hope and change lives in the inner city.”