Wilson hopes Patrick will be cleared by Big Ten opener #iufb

CHICAGO — Kevin Wilson fanned the hype surrounding Camion Patrick after IU’s win in the Old Oaken Bucket game last November.

Weeks ahead of a new season, Wilson isn’t stopping now.

Wilson is hopeful Patrick will be recovered from a torn ACL in time for Big Ten play in early October. When Patrick eventually is ready to join Indiana’s active roster, Wilson believes he could be Indiana’s top skill player.

“We do have a lot of backs and we do have a lot of receivers,” Wilson said. “And I think he’s the best of all of them.”

That’s high praise from Wilson, who is typically careful not to overhype players, especially those who have not yet played for him.

Patrick, apparently, is different.

The junior college transfer was not academically eligible to play last season after two impressive seasons as a receiver at East Mississippi Community College, where he caught 42 passes for 631 yards and 12 touchdowns. Behind the scenes last fall, Patrick was named IU’s Scout Team Player of the Year, moving to running back midway through the year. By the end of the year, Wilson was impressed enough to call Patrick the best player on the roster.

At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, he wowed with his ability to run over defenders and barrel forward with his natural power. Although raw, Patrick was so impressive as a running back, he projected to be IU’s starter this season until he tore his ACL midway through the spring.

By the end of spring practice, Wilson was hopeful that Patrick would be available sometime in October.

That timeframe — and IU’s conference opener against Michigan State on Oct. 1 — certainly seems within reach.

“I think they have a target date of shooting for the Big Ten opener,” Wilson said. “You’ll see as you go. The more running you do, is there swelling and setbacks? But he’s well ahead. They’re encouraged and pleased. Quite honestly, it’s just a different body type. He’s doing well.”

Patrick’s presence would further diversify Indiana’s options at the skill positions. Wilson experimented during the spring by asking some of his skill guys to switch roles. That meant backs like Mike Majette and Ricky Brookins working at receiver. Devonte Williams, who was recruited as a running back, moved back to his natural position and Patrick furthered his skills in the backfield.

Patrick’s skill set — and his potential to line up in several different formations — is coveted in Wilson’s world. Ideally, Wilson would like to be able to mix and match positions while rolling across the field in the uptempo offense, making it difficult for defenses to switch and scheme against specific personnel.

In Patrick, Wilson has a player capable of adding a different dimension to IU’s offense this fall.

And Wilson is hopeful he’ll be ready sooner rather than later.

“He was either going to be a running back playing receiver, or a receiver playing running back,” Wilson said. “Hopefully, we’ll just get him back. It looks like we have a chance to get him for, hopefully, a fair portion of the season.

“… It might be really until November until he’s back playing with confidence and the conditioning level is right. We’ll see. We’re encouraged.”

One comment

  1. It would be great to have Patrick back by the start of the B1G season. I can’t wait to see him on the field and see how good he really is. He could be what makes this offense a special one.

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