In November 2010, Kansas and Colorado played what seemed to be a meaningless football game. Except it wasn’t.
* Kansas beat CU 52-45 for Turner Gill’s first, last and only conference victory in two seasons as the Jayhawk coach.
* The defeat sealed Dan Hawkins’ fate. Colorado fired Hawkins a few days later.
* The Kansas comeback in that game was historic. The Jayhawks trailed 45-17 in the fourth quarter.
And midway through the quarter, with CU up 45-31, the Kansas rally was fueled in part by a 28-yard fumble return for a touchdown by cornerback Tyler Patmon. The same Tyler Patmon who now is headed for OSU.
Patmon is transferring to the Cowboys and will be eligible immediately, under the NCAA rule that allows graduated players with at least one year of eligibility remaining to transfer to another school and be eligible right away, so long as the new school has a graduate program unavailable at his previous school.
Is Patmon a star? No. Is he a difference-maker? I can’t see any evidence of that. Will he help? Absolutely.
Here’s what we know from Patmon’s stats and anecdotes like that long-ago day in Lawrence when two bad football teams staged one memorable game: This guy has played a lot of football.
Patmon has made 28 college starts as a defensive back. He’s covered Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey. He’s covered Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills. He’s covered Josh Stewart and and Justin Blackmon.
Last season, Patmon had 58 tackles, eight pass breakups, three interceptions, four tackles for loss and one sack. Yeah, he’s playing for a bad team. But that doesn’t mean nobody on the Kansas roster can play. It only means Kansas doesn’t have nearly enough good players.
And Patmon is coming to a team crying out for cornerback help. The Cowboys have maybe four corners on scholarships? Justin Gilbert, Kevin Peterson, Ashton Lampkin and Miketavius Jones. OSU needs all the quality depth it can find.
Plus, the OSU coaching staff is more equipped to evaluate Patmon than any other possible recruit. Even a high school kid playing at a big-time program, Jenks or Norman North or Southlake Carroll, doesn’t matter, it still requires some adjustment for scouts. But a guy about to enter his fifth year of college who has spent three years playing against the very players he’s going to be playing against? That’s about as low-risk of talent evaluation as you can find.
Mike Gundy and staff could look at Patmon’s tapes and not have to transpose his talents to a different stage. The stage he’s been on is the stage he will be on.
Kansas’ defense has been porous, no doubt. But it wasn’t the Big 12′s worst. KU allowed 36.1 points a game, which was eighth-best in the 10-team league. West Virginia and Baylor were worse. Pass defense, KU was eighth, 292.6 yards per game, which doesn’t sound so horrid in the 21st-century Big 12. Kansas was ninth in pass efficiency defense, which does sound horrid.
So I don’t know what kind of player Patmon will be. But he’s a guy that had four solo tackles against OSU in 2011 and seven tackles against OU in 2011. He’s a guy that has played. And there’s every reason to think Gundy and staff knows what kind of player Patmon will be. And they chose to give him a scholarship.