Jacques Patrick wasn’t supposed to be this good, this early.
As a freshman, Patrick (6-2, 200) ran for 1,162 yards and eight touchdowns for Orlando East River. His only prior experience playing running back came in seventh grade.
But behind a big, burly offensive line (led by 6-foot-8, 350-pound right tackle Adam Duckett), Patrick burst onto the scene as one of Central Florida’s most explosive runners.
After transferring to Timber Creek this offseason, along with older half-brother Javonte Seabury, Patrick expects to be stronger, faster and even more productive as a sophomore.
At a school like Timber Creek, which runs the ball as much if not more than neighboring East River, Patrick’s goal for 2012 is simple, yet gaudy.
“I’m aiming for 2,000 yards,” Patrick said.
The kid has confidence, although he’s also soft spoken and humble.
Patrick arrived at that total using a simple formula.
First, he expects to nearly double his carries from last season, going from 167 to 300.
Timber Creek head coach Jim Buckridge loves to run the football. Last season, senior Kyle Snead ran for 1,567 yards on 287 carries. Buckridge already envisions using Patrick—who is quicker and seemingly more physical than Snead—in a similar capacity.
“I think he’s definitely going to be a D-I kid if he continues to get stronger,” Buckridge said. “He’s never lifted before. Being a freshman last year, he’s never been in the weight room.”
That is another reason why Patrick said he believes he can get to 2,000 yards.
“I had to be strong,” Patrick said. “I didn’t lift a lot of weights last year because I just came into high school.”
Patrick has already put on 10 pounds of muscle this offseason, something that should help him as he shoulders a bigger work load next year.
Finally, Patrick thinks 2,000 yards is within reach because he had always been a quarterback playing youth football. A little more seasoning could only help him as a runner, although he caught on quickly when the Falcons moved him to running back before the Kickoff Classic early last August.
“It came easy,” Patrick said. “I had a lot of doubters because I was only 14-years-old and they didn’t expect me to do that much.”
Patrick visited Florida earlier this week with his brother and said the experience meeting coaches, viewing the Gators’ locker room and watching practice was ‘unforgettable.’ He will visit Florida again next weekend for the Gators' spring game and also plans on visiting Florida State this spring. FSU's spring game is April 14.
“Now they’re watching me closely,” Patrick said of the in-state colleges. “That’s just going to make me work harder.
The move to Timber Creek should also benefit older brother Seabury, a rising junior who was seldom used at East River.
Seabury (5-9, 160) played at Timber Creek as a freshman and moved up to the varsity level for the last month of the season. He even logged some carries in the Wolves’ playoff game against Sanford Seminole two seaons ago.
“We had really high hopes for [Seabury],” Buckridge said. “We were really excited about him being here, but then they moved down the street, which is East River’s district. There’s nothing we could do, they had to move. But now that they’re back, we’re excited.”
Seabury is a slot receiver with 4.5-second 40-yard-dash speed. Buckridge said he expects to use him on a lot of jet sweeps, similar to how he utilized the diminutive but speedy athlete Jimmie Roberts last season.
“This season, I’m going to a show a lot of people what I can do,” Seabury said. “Last year, I didn’t get the opportunity.”
The brothers moved with their mom seven minutes down the road back into Timber Creek’s district this offseason.
“My mom, she felt it was a better education,” Patrick said.
It also allowed them to go back into the Avalon area, where they had childhood friends and played youth football together.
“In little league, I was always in his shadow up until last year,” Patrick said of his ‘little big brother’. “I believe I was always bigger than him.”
Seabury’s response to that: “He’s bigger than me, but no matter what, I’m always going to be the big brother.”
The back-and-forth chiding of each other is indicative of the brothers' close-knit relationship. It's something that Buckridge has quickly noticed.
“[Seabury] kind of keeps [Patrick] grounded too,” Buckridge said. “They both want to work for each other and push each other.”
Buckridge can’t be happier with what he’s seen so far from both Patrick and Seabury.
“We got a lot of plans for them. They’ll both play in the backfield together,” Buckridge said. “They’re both going to get a lot of touches. They’re both really good kids.”
Brendan Sonnone is the Sentinel's recruiting correspondent and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Brendan on Twitter at @BSonnone or Facebook at Brendan Sonone or at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting.
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