Matt Patchan's long, strange trip through six years of college football has paid off with a Reese's Senior Bowl invitation.
Patchan likely will replace Tennessee's Ja'Wuan James, who suffered a sprained knee during practice.
Patchan (6-foot-6, 300 pounds) was a consensus top-50 player and a consensus top-five offensive tackle nationally in the 2008 recruiting class. That recruiting class included tackles such as Matt Kalil (fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, to the Minnesota Vikings), Tyron Smith (ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft, to the Dallas Cowboys) and Mike Adams (second-round pick in the 2012 draft, to the Pittsburgh Steelers). But while Smith, Adams and Kalil are NFL veterans, Patchan is just hoping for an NFL opportunity.
Patchan started all 13 games at left tackle as a sixth-year senior for Boston College in 2013 and helped Eagles tailback Andre Williams rush for a nation-leading 2,177 yards. He transferred to BC from Florida to play one season for coach Steve Addazio, who had been his offensive line coach for a while with the Gators.
Patchan basically was a walking X-ray at Florida. He was a backup defensive tackle as a true freshman in 2008. (How long ago was that? Tim Tebow was a junior at Florida that season.) He moved back to offensive tackle in '09 but played in only four games before he suffered a torn ACL in practice. He missed the 2010 season with a fractured wrist, then started seven times in 2011 at right tackle. But he missed 2012 with a strained pectoral muscle, then decided to transfer to BC. During his Florida career, he also was shot (in a drive-by shooting at a park in his hometown of Tampa) and was involved in two scooter accidents in Gainesville, including getting hit by a car.
Patchan plays with a mean streak, has a large wingspan and is a top-notch run blocker. His knee injury robbed him of some of his quickness, but he has the potential to be a third-day pick and play right tackle at the next level.