Daymond Patterson found his mind wandering during practices with the cornerbacks last season.
The Kansas University junior-to-be couldn’t help but think that he should be catching passes instead of trying to defend them.
“I would look down on the other side of the field and just daydream: ‘I remember when I used to be down there,’” Patterson said. “I’m just happy to be back over there now.”
Patterson is back to receiver this spring after playing that position briefly his freshman year.
The latest switch actually wasn’t even requested by him. Some assistants from the previous staff told new KU coach Turner Gill that Patterson would be better suited as a receiver than a cornerback.
“I feel like I’ll be a better player, a happier player and more productive on the offensive side of the ball,” Patterson said.
The 5-foot-9, 173-pound wideout from Mesquite, Texas, admitted that he had discussions with his father about transferring away from KU last season.
“We talked about it, but it was like a 50-50,” Patterson said. “It wasn’t like, ‘OK, for sure I’m leaving if this happens.’ But we did end up talking about it.”
Most of Patterson’s dissatisfaction came because he believed he wasn’t given much of a chance to prove himself at receiver.
In his first two games as a freshman, Patterson caught 11 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns. He also added a 75-yard punt return for TD.
Following a two-catch game against South Florida, Patterson fumbled his first reception against Sam Houston State.
After that game, he was moved to cornerback.
“I felt like I had showed enough flashes that I could be a productive player and really grow as a receiver before they actually moved me to corner,” Patterson said. “I could have seen if I was out there through four games, no catches, all types of drops and you just knew that I wouldn’t be any good at receiver.
“I think that’s what frustrated me more than anything is that you didn’t really give me an opportunity to prove that I wouldn’t be good at that position before you actually moved me.”
Patterson said he was promised by the previous coaching staff that he would return to the offensive side of the ball either later his freshman year or sometime his sophomore year. That never happened.
“I guess that kind of set me back,” Patterson said. “I was a little frustrated. ‘Well, they’re going to bring me back in the offense this game. Well, they’ve got five wide-receiver sets this game.’ I never made it back.”
Though Patterson was benched at cornerback during the second half of last season, he still mentored D.J. Beshears, who was another receiver-turned-cornerback.
Beshears, who started three of the last five games, also is transitioning back to receiver this season.
“My mom and dad always told me and my brother, ‘Things are going to go your way sometimes and sometimes they’re not. That doesn’t mean you can sit there and complain about it,’” Patterson said. “Because I feel like I had plenty of chances to complain. ‘Well, I don’t want to play corner.’ Or, ‘I came here as a receiver.’ But that’s not how I am.”
Patterson said moving back to receiver fits his personality best.
“Growing up, I was always a running back, a quarterback. Basketball, a point guard,” Patterson said. “So I always had the ball in my hand, and I was always a focus point with the ball in whatever sport I played.”
Re-energized after being switched back to his natural position, Patterson said he’s ready to make up for the time he’s lost.
“I’m really out to prove that I was the receiver that could make plays in this offense before,” Patterson said, “and in this offense now.”