2004: The hard-to-block Patterson, an All-American candidate who is one of the nation's premier nose tackles, returns for his third season as the starter as a senior in 2004.
2003: Patterson started for his second season at nose tackle as a junior in 2002 and emerged among the best interior defensive linemen around. Overall in 2003 while starting all 13 games, he had 55 tackles, including 13.5 for losses of 61 yards (including 7 sacks for 40 yards), plus 3 fumble recoveries (with 1 returned for a 52-yard TD against UCLA). His 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2003 were the most by a Trojan defensive tackle since Darrell Russell had 19 in 1996. He was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 first team. He had 7 tackles versus Auburn (to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors) and BYU, 6 against UCLA, 5 at California (2 for losses) and Arizona State (2.5 for losses), and 4 against Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State (with 1.5 for losses). He had 2 sacks at Notre Dame. Besides his scoring fumble return against UCLA, he also recovered fumbles against California and Stanford (running 16 yards with it). He won USC's Co-Lifter of the Year award.
2002: As just a sophomore, Patterson started all season on the defensive line in 2002, the first 6 games at nose tackle, then the next 3 at defensive tackle and the final 4 back at nose tackle. Overall in 2002, he had 37 tackles, including 11.5 for losses of 38 yards (with 5.5 sack for 28 yards), plus 4 fumble recoveries (including 1 for a TD) and a deflection. He tied for the Pac-10 lead in fumbles recovered (4). He made the 2002 All-Pac-10 second team.
In his first career start, he had a team-high 8 tackles (1.5 for loss) versus Auburn. He added 5 tackles (including 2 sacks) at Colorado and 4 stops (with a sack) and returned a fumble 3 yards for a TD at Kansas State. He had 2 sacks and recovered a fumble against Oregon State (to set up a USC field goal), while 2 of his 3 tackles at Washington State were for losses. He had 2 tackles and a deflection against Washington, 2 stops at Oregon, 3 (with 1 for a loss) at Stanford and a tackle for a loss against Arizona State. He had a tackle and recovered 2 fumbles (to set up a TD and a field goal) at UCLA, then had a tackle for a loss against Notre Dame. He had 3 tackles against Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
2001: Patterson made a nice contribution as a freshman in 2001 while backing up Bernard Riley and then Ryan Nielsen at nose tackle. Overall in 2001 while appearing in 11 games (all but the San Jose State opener), he had 9 tackles, including 5 for losses of 34 yards (with 3 sacks for 32 yards), 2 fumble recoveries and 2 forced fumbles. He tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in fumble recoveries (2) and forced fumbles (2). He had 2 tackles against Washington, California and Utah. His fumble recoveries came against Washington and Oregon State, while his forced fumbles came against Arizona State and California.
HIGH SCHOOL: He earned 2000 Prep Star All-American, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-Western Region, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best of the West second team, Los Angeles Times All-Orange County, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team, Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team first team and All-Sunset League honors as a senior at Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. He posted 94 tackles, 18 tackles for losses and 7 sacks in 2000.
As a 1999 junior, his honors included All-CIF Division VI Defensive MVP, Long Beach Press-Telegram Dream Team second team and All-Sunset League first team. He also was an All-CIF wrestler at Los Alamitos.
PERSONAL: He's a sociology major at USC. His family lived in Sacramento, but he moved south and lived with relatives in order to play football at Los Alamitos. His sports hero is NFL star Warren Sapp (his nickname is "Baby Sapp").
MIKE PATTERSON ON:
NFL star defensive lineman Warren Sapp: "He's my favorite player, for sure. He was one of the short guys and we have similar body types. He worked very hard and now he is one of the best. So that's who I try to emulate. I try to work really hard to be the best...We have different attitudes, but I love the way he plays. But I don't hear the 'Baby Sapp' nickname much anymore. It's almost like I'm finally making a name for myself."
Wrestling: "Wrestling taught me how to stay low. Wrestling is basically the same technique as the defensive line. You have to stay low and use your hands. I mainly wrestled to stay in shape during the off-season. I was originally an offensive lineman in high school, but as soon as the football coaches saw how aggressive I was when I wrestled, they moved me over to defense."
Moving from Sacramento to Southern California for High School: "I just came down here for a vacation and I figured, while I was down here, 'Why not try going to a football camp with my cousin.' I did it and I loved it. I called my mom and asked her if I could stay down here and she said yes...At first it was tough, but I was still with family, so it's not like it was that hard...I never thought about sports when I was up north. Then I came down here, started playing football and realized what it could do for me. I came down here and took advantage of this opportunity."
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron: "If I could create a nose tackle, it would be him."
USC quarterback Matt Leinart: "You look at him and he's not the tallest guy, but he's strong. He's probably one of the best nose tackles in the country. He's just so quick and he stays low. No one talks about him a lot, but he's a 'Baby Sapp' for sure."
Former USC All-American offensive tackle Jacob Rogers: "He's something else. You look at him and don't expect him to make the plays that he does. He's made one center afte another look really bad. He just wreaks havoc."
NBC announcer Pat Haden: "Mike Patterson is like hair in the sink. He just kind of clogs things up."
#Includes 1 fumble returned for a touchdown
GAME-BY-GAME WITH MIKE PATTERSON
#Returned for a touchdown