Finding the right spot

Florida football has a few prominent players that are either currently coming off of a season ending injury, or have done so in past seasons. Oft forgotten among them is junior Solomon Patton.

The 5-9, 169-pounder is listed at receiver but has only caught one pass to go along with just eight receptions in his career. The Mobile, Al. native made his name in Florida’s rushing attack, as well as on special teams. The former of those two was the facet of the offense he was participating in when he broke his arm against the Georgia Bulldogs last October.

Patton didn’t realize it at first while being attended to on the field by the training staff, but after being whisked into the locker room and in the days immediately after, the reality set in. His 2012 season was over.

“Just long and hurtful and painful, I just had to suck it up and try to get myself back able to play,” Patton said. “Real devastating, I had finally gotten my chance and you know, and it was just like boom, it happened. I never thought I would break anything.”

At the time of his injury, Patton was Florida’s third leading rusher, a level of production he earned by being a staple on UF’s end-around plays. For all the north-south between the tackles running the Gators did last season, one of their leading rushers was getting it done by going east-west. Combined with his role as a kick returner, it’s easy to label him as just a specialist. Don’t tell him that though.

“No, I came here to be a receiver and I always felt like I was a wide receiver. But it’s all about showing the coaches that I was ready and I ended up showing them that last year,” Patton said.

He feels like he’s ready to make the jump as a featured wideout in the vertical passing game. He’s listed as the starter at the Z position on the depth chart, so we’ll see just how ready he is Saturday when Florida kicks it off against the Toledo Rockets.

Even with a mended arm and the projected expansion of his role in Florida’s offense, Patton still keeps a chip on his shoulder.

“I wouldn’t say I have a point to prove, but at the same time, I feel like my time has come. I’m going to do everything I can to show the whole world and especially back home, that this is the right spot. I picked the right spot to come play football.”

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Richard Johnson
Richard lives in Gainesville and prides himself in being a bonafide lifelong Alachua County Resident. He attends the University of Florida and is in his third year studying Telecommunications. He isn’t sure how he started loving football being the son of two immigrants that don’t care about the sport, but he has developed a borderline unhealthy obsession with it. In his free time, Richard watches other sports and is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tampa Bay Rays. He doesn’t like chocolate, knows Moe’s is better than Chipotle and drinks way too many Arnold Palmers. He also took up golf in the summer of 2012. That pursuit isn’t going well. You can listen to him talk about sports during the Cheapseats radio show on ESPN 850-WRUF or online at Follow him on Twitter at @RagjUF.