Kentre Patterson has a few things he’s trying to accomplish during his final season of high school football.
Finding a place to continue his football career is no longer on that list.
The East Lansing senior wide receiver/defensive back recently reached a decision about his college future by verbally committing to Illinois State.
Patterson is the third mid-Michigan player landed by Illinois State in recent months. Recent Sexton graduate Devin Taylor and 2015 East Lansing graduate and former Western Michigan tight end Parker Underwood are also part of the Illinois State program.
““I liked the program with the tradition and then the relationships I had with the coaches.” Patterson said. “The education was big also.
“(The coaches) showed me a lot of love. They were texting me all the time and especially now that I committed. The whole coaching staff texted me just saying good luck with the season and camp and stuff.”
The 6-foot-1 Patterson, who also had offers from Eastern Michigan, Southern Illinois and Tennessee-Martin, was impressed with what the Illinois State football program has accomplished in recent years. The Redbirds are coming off a 10-3 season that included winning a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title and reaching the quarterfinals of the Division I FCS playoffs. Illinois State reached the national championship game in 2014.
Patterson was also sold on the opportunity to compete in both football and track at Illinois State. Patterson was an all-state hurdler for the Trojans in the spring and won the Division 1 110 hurdles state title in June.
“I liked Illinois State when I went down for a visit,” said Patterson, who received his first football offer from the Redbirds.
“I committed early because I didn’t want to be going through my senior year still trying to get offers. I wanted to focus on my season.”
With practices set to begin Monday, Patterson is hoping to do more this fall to help East Lansing to success. Patterson was the Trojans’ leading receiver last fall with 24 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns and is among the key components back for East Lansing from a team that finished 5-4 and in a three-way tie for second in the CAAC Blue.
One of Patterson’s top priorities is getting a taste of the postseason this fall.
“Getting to the playoffs is the big thing,” Patterson said. “We haven’t been to the playoffs since I’ve been in high school. We’ve got to get back to the playoffs.”