University of Miami

Legacy Canes DE follows ‘heart’ by surprising his two-time UM national champion father

UM defensive lineman Scott Patchan honors his father with #71 jersey

UM defensive lineman Scott Patchan talks about how he honors his father with #71 jersey after a team practice on July 30, 2019.
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UM defensive lineman Scott Patchan talks about how he honors his father with #71 jersey after a team practice on July 30, 2019.

Matt Patchan won national championships as a left offensive tackle at the University of Miami in 1983 and ‘87.

If fifth-year Hurricanes senior defensive end Scott Patchan can’t end his final season helping to deliver something that lofty, he has started it with a gift to his father that has thrilled the family.

The 6-6, 255-pound Patchan, who has matured into a formidable, intense leader and plays with the first team opposite junior standout Jonathan Garvin, has changed his jersey number from 19 to his father’s former 71.

“Everybody talks about a standard here at Miami,’’ Patchan, 22, said Tuesday after UM’s fifth practice of fall camp — and first in full pads. “For me, who could set a better standard? Obviously he played offensive line and I play defensive line, but I come with that same mentality every day. He paved the way, and a lot of other greats up here paved the way, too.

“He’s done so much for me... He knows there was no way for me to show greater respect and love toward him [for] everything he’s done to raise me as the man I’ve become. My mom as well. There wasn’t a number I could wear to honor her, but I love her.”

Turns out Mom, Deanne Patchan, also has UM football ties. Her brother Danny Mariscal was a UM linebacker from 1984 to 1986, “a special teams killer, always making big hits and always on the highlight reel,’’ Matt Patchan told the Miami Herald on Tuesday.

“It’s wonderful,’’ Matt, 53, said of his son’s decision to surprise him with his former jersey number. “He’s a very tenderhearted kid, and it just touched our hearts that he did that. Football is very important to him and he loves his coaches and teammates and senses the time. He’s certainly motivated and hard working. Everything is coming together.”

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The younger Patchan, playing with about 8 percent body fat, was a consensus four-star talent when he graduated from IMG Academy in Bradenton. He recuperated from two reconstructive surgeries to repair the ACL of his right knee, one following the first game of his high school senior season and the other in March 2016. He switched to tight end during 2017 and back again to defensive end last season, when he had 29 tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for loss, a sack, pass breakup and forced fumble as a reserve behind now-Dallas Cowboy Joe Jackson and Garvin.

Patchan has redshirt freshman end Greg Rousseau, a projected budding star, playing behind him on the left side.

“I Kind of touched on it in the spring, but I set very lofty goals for myself,’’ said Patchan, who said he had become “more faithful” along with his father. “God’s got a plan... I look at it like I really haven’t done anything here at Miami. I’m just looking to execute every day and dominate. Kind of keep it simple.”

Coach Manny Diaz said Monday that Patchan “cares very deeply for the University of Miami’’ and “is very driven... Your seniors have to play their best ball, and Scott... should attack every practice differently than a freshman who thinks he can play forever. Scott has a great appreciation for his time here.’’

Diaz said he “loved’’ that Patchan told him Monday that he wanted to not only be included, but begin the “Big Cane’’ drill that pits one defensive player vs. one offensive player in the center of the team, which cheers wildly as each player tries to put the other on his back.

Diaz had planned to do it anyway, and Patchan emerged victorious over 6-5, 310-pound redshirt freshman offensive lineman John Campbell.

“I wanted to set a tone for practice,’’ said Patchan, who nonetheless praised Campbell and the rest of the offensive line for improving since spring. “I wanted to be aggressive. Coach Diaz is the head coach, and he wants toughness and we’re going to give it to him.’’

UM redshirt senior offensive tackle George Brown, who transferred from LSU to Miami in 2016, left the team Monday, UM confirmed. Brown sat out last season following knee surgery. He played in three games as a reserve in 2017.

Receiver Jeff Thomas and punter Louis Hedley were not seen practicing during media viewing Tuesday after sitting out part of Monday’s practice...Quarterback Tate Martell took first-team snaps when the media walked outside for viewing. He was intercepted once by safety Derrick Smith, who dropped another would-be pick thrown by Martell... Defensive tackle Nesta Silvera was seen in a walking boot on his right foot.

When asked about the difficulty of coaches selecting a starting quarterback, Canes junior receiver Mike Harley said, “If I was the coach I’d probably make that decision like Aug. 23 at midnight.” UM opens the season Aug. 24 against the Florida Gators.

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Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.