East Lansing two-sport standout makes things official with Illinois State

East Lansing two-sport standout makes things official with Illinois State

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East Lansing two-sport standout makes things official with Illinois State

East Lansing's Kentre Patterson signed to continue his football and track career at Illinois State on Wednesday.

East Lansing’s Kentre Patterson signed to continue his football and track career at Illinois State on Wednesday.

EAST LANSING – The only nerves for Kentre Patterson on Wednesday came about his speech.

The East Lansing senior spent most of the day thinking about it and trying to figure out what he might say with friends and family gathered to celebrate his college signing.

Everything else was smooth sailing for the Trojan football and track standout as he made things official with Illinois State in a ceremony after school.

Patterson was joined by quarterback Hunter Helmic (Concordia Ann Arbor) and lineman Anthony Nguyen (Albion) as East Lansing football players that made official their college decisions Wednesday – the first day prospective recruits could sign national letters of intent with schools.

“I’m really excited and it’s truly a blessing,” said Patterson, who was one of two Division I prospects from the Lansing area to sign. “All this work that I’ve been through and done has made this dream come into a reality.”

East Lansing's Kentre Patterson responds to questions Wednesday about his signing to Illinois State.

East Lansing’s Kentre Patterson responds to questions Wednesday about his signing to Illinois State.

It was special for Patterson to realize the dream with Helmic and Nguyen and have other teammates in attendance for the moment. It was especially unique sharing it with Helmic, who Patterson caught passes from as a receiver and has played with since middle school.

“From a young age, he was always an athlete,” Helmic said. “He was always crazy fast. He’s really just been an all-around athlete and when you’ve got a guy who is explosive as him and can do almost anything on the field, it makes your job easier. I’m excited to see how he grows into an athlete. I’m excited to see him on the track. He’s great at track and I wish nothing but the best for him.”

Patterson thrived as a receiver and defensive back and was part of a senior class that helped the Trojans reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012 last fall. He committed to Illinois State prior to the start of his senior season because of the opportunity to compete in both football and track. And Patterson is looking forward to trying to find an early role on the football field for the Redbirds.

“That’s the goal,” Patterson said. “I’ve got to work on the things that I’m already good at and master those things like speed, explosiveness, strength and all of that.”

Helmic described the day as a surreal experience.

“I remember being here freshman year and watching these guys sign,” Helmic said. “I knew if I worked hard, this could be me one day and I could be up there signing.”

Contact Brian Calloway at bcalloway@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway

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