Our latest Diamond in the Rough featured athlete is out of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, LA. Johnel Patterson III is a 5’8, 170 pound running back who can do it all on the field for the Purple Knights. He has the ability to play on both sides of the ball. As there are many great running backs in the class of 2024, Johnel has the ability to break through tackles with ease and has a very quick first step. During his sophomore season, he had averaged 6.0 yards per carry in three games he played that year. He is constantly making improvements in his game. He also carries a 3.5 GPA in the classroom, which shows he puts in the necessary work on and off the field as well.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, like where are you from and how old were you when you started playing football?
“Well I’m from the Westbank of New Orleans. I started playing football at the age of 5 at a playground called Oakdale. Ja’Marr Chase, Eddie Lacey, and players like Elfrid Payton also played there. Growing up I played against players in my class like Wardell Mack and Raemon Mosby, top players in my class of 2024. I think coming from where I played football, it developed a good foundation for me to go into high school sports.”
Do you play any sports other than football or is it just strictly football for you?
“Yes, I actually run track. I’ve been running track since 6th grade and ever since then, I have never stopped. I was good at it and I love it too. I used to play basketball, but I stopped after my 10th grade year to focus on football and track.”
How would you describe a good teammate?
“I would describe a good teammate as someone who takes responsibility for their actions on and off the field, putting the team first before themselves, and most importantly a good teammate is someone that’s competitive and wants to win.”
Do you rather playing on the offensive side of the ball or do you rather play on the defensive side of things? And explain a little bit as to why if you can.
“I rather play on the offensive side of the ball because I feel better at taking hits rather than giving hits. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I just think that’s one of my many skills I possess on the field being able to take hits and recover.”
What is the strongest part about your game?
“The strongest part about my game is breaking tackles in the trenches, running north and south, and having vision that allows me to see the hole as it develops. A couple of my other strong points are picking up the block and making the block.”
What is an area you think you could improve on?
“An area I think I can improve on is increasing my speed. My ultimate goal is to run faster than 4.4.”
What are your goals for this upcoming season?
“My goals for this upcoming season is to win a state championship with my team, staying focus throughout the season and picking up offers throughout the way.”
How has the recruiting process been so far for you? Any offers? Or any interest from schools?
“The recruitment process has been a little rocky because I started later than others in my recruiting. I have no offers at the time. I do have interest from Division III and NAIA schools for track.”
Why should a college recruit you or continue to do so?
“The reason why is because I’m a player who always puts forth 110% every rep, play, or down. I take constructive criticism well and I like beating odds and proving people wrong. I also have talents some running backs don’t have like quicker twitch, being versatile in a game plan, playing at the slot receiver position, and mainly ball security.”
Are there any college or pro players that you model your game after?
“I try to model my game after Johnathan Taylor, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Alvin Kamara and Jahmyr Gibbs.”
How would your teammates describe you?
“My teammates would describe me as up tempo, positive, never unhappy, always working hard, and a kind person.”
How do you balance your school and football? Because I saw you had over a 3.5 GPA which must take hard work?
“I balance schoolwork and football by mostly completing school work while I’m in school and focusing in class. I’ve always put academics first. Before being an athlete you’re a student first so I take my grades really seriously.”
Do you have a role model or someone who has helped along your journey so far?
“I have two role models. They are my father and my uncle. They both are great men and they continue to push me to reach my dream.”