Patchan brothers: big guys with big dreams


Special to the Miami Herald

There are several holes in the walls of the Patchan home in Tampa, courtesy of some all-in-fun roughhousing by the family’s three beefy boys.

Oldest son Matt Patchan IV is a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference left tackle at Boston College, and the 6-6, 305-pounder is a prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Middle son Brandon, a freshman basketball player at Nova Southeastern, recently earned his first collegiate start.

And youngest son Scott, a 6-5, 225-pound defensive end, is a junior in high school who has offers from Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others.

Their combined weight is 745 pounds, and when they play any sport — even ping-pong — it is ultra-physical and competitive.

“The winner will anoint himself the ‘King of Ping,’ ” said family patriarch Matt Patchan III, who was an offensive lineman at Miami when the Hurricanes won their first national title in 1983 and also

was a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988.

Brandon is the smallest of the three boys in terms of weight, and he is an imposing specimen at 6-7 and 215 pounds. Matt, 48, who these days is confined to a wheelchair because of a neurological disorder, was courtside recently when Nova, a Division II school, upset host FIU 77-59. It was the first time Nova had ever beaten a Division I school in men’s basketball.

“When we beat FIU, our kids were having a lot of fun,” Nova coach Gary Tuell said, “and it was great to see Matt on the baseline, near our bench, with a big smile on his face.”

Brandon is a newcomer to basketball. He was a pitcher for most of his athletic career but switched to basketball as a freshman.

“I used to shoot the ball with two hands back then,” Brandon said. “That’s how little basketball I knew at the time.”

Brandon learned fast and knew enough to send a tape of himself to various coaches. When Tuell got his copy, he was immediately impressed and called Brandon’s father to see if he could bring his son down for a workout.

Eventually, Brandon was signed with the idea that he could carry an extra 35 pounds of muscle by the time he was done growing.

“I wish we could have red-shirted him this season because it would have been good for him to mature physically, but we had an injury and needed him to play right away,” Tuell said. “Brandon is long and can jump out of the gym. He’s a good shot-blocker, passes the ball well and has a nice stroke. He is going to be a monster by the time he’s a junior.”

In the meantime, it’s a learning process. Tuell jokes that Brandon sometimes looks like he’s auditioning for a job at Benihana because — chop, chop, chop — he can quickly get in foul trouble.

Still, for someone with such little experience, Brandon has a nice feel for the game, Tuell said.

Brandon, who stays away from greasy food and sticks to a gluten-free diet, aspires to play pro basketball. But if that doesn’t work out, perhaps he can steal a page from former college basketball player Jimmy Graham, who switched to football after his days at Miami and became a star tight end in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints.

Either way, whenever the Patchan boys find themselves back in Tampa, you can bet they will compete in ping-pong or basketball or some other sport.

And you can also be sure that — watch the furniture — the games will get physical.

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