The exodus from the high school coaching ranks to college continues, this time in a less familiar state: From Missouri to Illinois.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Trinity Catholic football coach Cory Patterson resigned from his position leading one of the state’s most prominent programs to take a position as tight ends coach at Illinois. Patterson spent five years at Trinity, three as the head coach with the 2016 and 2017 campaigns finishing a combined 21-2.
Smith’s desire to bring Patterson to Champaign-Urbana may be due in part to the highly touted prospects who play for him at Trinity. A trio of Smith’s current players — Quarterback Isaiah Williams, wide receiver Marcus Washington and linebacker Shammond Cooper — have already committed to play in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game.
Isaiah Williams in particular is viewed as a program changer, a five-star recruit listed as an athlete who plays as a quarterback but could excel in truly any position on the field. Though he is just 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, Williams has blazing speed and athleticism, and would almost certainly step on the field from Day 1 at Illinois if he follows his coach.
Of course, that’s a huge if, and not the main reason why Smith went after Patterson.
“When (Smith) first met me he told me I could command a locker room, that I had that charisma,” Patterson told the Post-Dispatch. “We talked again, about aspirations to do something bigger.”
He’ll get a chance to do that starting now, even if it costs him the chance to coach one of the most talented high school squads in the nation.