Chase for QB Patton includes Tigers

Friday, August 8, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:48 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

The chase for Rock Bridge quarterback Chase Patton is closer to an end.

Patton visited Missouri’s football practice Thursday and said he is looking forward to finishing the recruiting process.

Patton returned from the Elite 11 Camp in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., on July 30 and this week trimmed his list. He said he eliminated Georgia because it received commitments from two quarterbacks.

Patton narrowed his list to Missouri, Tennessee and UCLA with Iowa, Kansas State, Stanford and Virginia in the picture.

Patton watched the Tigers go through the afternoon workout from the sideline at Memorial Stadium, periodically shaking hands with spectators and coaches, including coach Gary Pinkel.

Patton said he has an open invitation to watch Missouri practice, but is not allowed to go through any kind of workout. He said he likes the chance to see the Tigers practice and had a good time.

“I watch the quarterbacks mostly,” Patton said. “Brad Smith is always impressive and practice is always crisp and always moving. Coach Pinkel has got it going really well, so that’s good to see.”

TALE OF THE TURF: After two days of practicing on the new FieldTurf at Memorial Stadium, Pinkel’s suspicions are confirmed.

“It’s great. It’s excellent. But we knew it was,” Pinkel said. “We’ve played on it before. We talked to people all over the country that have it. They rave about it.”

Pinkel said the new surface allows the Tigers more freedom to practice outside, even in bad weather.

“It lets us be able to play out in the weather, whether it’s snow or rain or anything else,” Pinkel said. “Before we had to go inside because we were worried about ruining the grass field.”

In his three years at Missouri, Pinkel has persistently recruited for speed, which has become a trademark of his teams. Now, he has a surface that accentuates that speed.

“This is really great,” Pinkel said. “I wanted to do this the day I got here.”

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT?: Senior tailback Tim Starks, who was listed fourth on the depth chart after spring practices, has not joined the team for “academic issues,” Pinkel said.

“He won’t be with us next year,” Pinkel said.

Starks played in two games last season but did not have any carries. He had seven carries for 19 yards in 2001.

Elgin Childress, a sophomore defensive lineman, has missed the Tigers’ first two practices with a torn pectoral muscle. Pinkel said he hopes to get Childress back into practice as soon as possible, but he isn’t optimistic about his status for this season.

“We don’t think he’ll be able to play this year, but that’s not for sure,” Pinkel said.

Rayfield Johnson, a senior defensive back who pleaded guilty to second-degree property damage and harassment, both misdemeanors, is on the team but has not practiced.

“That’s a disciplinary issue and we handle that internally,” Pinkel said.

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