The Canes’ defensive line has been a strong unit for the past few seasons. 3 members of the 2017 line were drafted after the season, and despite losing that much talent, the group is still expected to be a strength this season. Having such an abundance of talent in one area is great for the program, but also usually means that certain players don’t see the field that likely would have in another situation, an example of that is redshirt junior defensive end Scott Patchan.
If you recognize the last name, it’s likely because Scott’s father, Matt Patchan, was an offensive lineman for the Hurricanes back in the 80’s, winning two national championships in 1983 and 1987. The Patchan genes are strong, as Scott’s brother (also named Matt) was an offensive lineman for Florida and Boston College before suiting up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a junior at the football-factory IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, Scott showed the same amount of promise as his father and brother, securing offers from Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and UCLA after a 56 tackle, 8.5 sack and 24 tackle for loss season which resulted in a 4-star rating. We here at State of the U thought he would be an instant hit when he joined the program in 2015 (you can read his freshman profile from the site here), As we see time and time again, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you think they will for highly-rated recruits.
The first bump in the road occurred during Patchan’s senior season at IMG, when he sustained a season-ending knee injury during the first game of the season. Patchan then redshirted his freshman season, and followed that up in 2016 by receiving action in only one game. Last year, the Canes were loaded at defensive end, so Patchan switched to the offensive side of the ball to provide depth at tight end, and ended up playing significant snaps late in the season after Chris Herndon IV was lost due to injury. In 2018, the Canes are thinner at defensive end, so Patchan is making his second switch in as many years, and will hope to see the field and make a name for himself at his natural position. He possesses great size to be a pass-rushing end at 6’6” 250 lbs, and is currently slotted in with the second rotation on the line, meaning he should easily receive more snaps than in the previous two seasons. If he can capitalize on this opportunity, Patchan can salvage what currently appears to be a bust of a college career for the former 4-star recruit. The Canes will need solid contributions by their second unit to continue their defensive dominance, and help propel the team to new heights this season.