Transfer SZN: Oklahoma's Top 10 Transfers of the Last 20 Years: No. 9, Allen Patrick
The NCAA transfer portal is always open. With 10 transfers over the last two seasons — including five Division I transfers new to the Oklahoma roster in 2021 — OU has made a living off transfers in recent years. Every Tuesday this summer, SI Sooners examines Oklahoma's 10 best transfers of the last 20 years. (Josh Heupel and Torrance Marshall, class of ’99, are outside of that time frame.)
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What was your favorite thing about Allen Patrick?
Was it that he came to Oklahoma as a hard-hitting safety from Independence (KS) Junior College? Was it that he moved to running back to support the Sooners’ lack of depth and became a 1,000-yard runner? Was it that he might have been the best punt cover man in the nation?
Or was it the nickname he gave himself: The All-Out Crusher?
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Patrick was a standout running back and safety in high school at Conway, SC.
But his academic journey was uneven. Patrick was held back in third grade, then sent ahead in eighth grade. He intended to graduate high school early, but instead he was deemed a semester behind and had to make up a math class. He tried to take the class at Coffeyville (KS) Community College, but got homesick and went back to Conway after just two days.
Patrick re-enrolled at his high school, took the math class and got a second senior season — and rushed for almost 700 yards and seven touchdowns and was accorded All-State honors as a safety with 105 tackles and four quarterback sacks.
Patrick wanted to go to South Carolina State as a partial qualifier, but didn’t have the transcript. So it was back to Kansas, back to junior college, this time at Independence, where he became an immediate contributor as a freshman safety.
He was ranked the No. 14 junior college player in the nation by Rivals, No. 23 by College Football News. Patrick made first-team All-Jayhawk Conference in 2003 and was a juco preseason All-American in 2004. Then-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson noticed his fearless playing style and recommended Bob Stoops offer him.
But early in his sophomore year, Patrick suffered a broken fibula and missed almost the whole season (he got a medical redshirt) before signing with the Sooners in 2005.
Patrick was one of four safeties signed in that class, joining Reggie Smith (who played multiple positions), Brian Jackson (who later moved to cornerback) and Keenan Clayton (who eventually moved to linebacker)
But halfway through his first season in Norman, Patrick was still struggling to make an impact on defense.
Meanwhile, the OU running back position was being decimated by injuries. Adrian Peterson missed multiple games with a high ankle sprain. Kejuan Jones missed time. Donta Hickson and Jacob Gutierrez were dinged up.
Coaches asked Patrick what he thought about switching to running back, and he thrived.
Patrick rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns in 2005, then in 2006, after Peterson broke his collarbone at the halfway point of the season, Patrick exploded.
He carried 35 times for 110 yards against Colorado, 35 times for 157 yards at Missouri, 32 times for 173 yards at Texas A&M, and popped a 65-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half against Oklahoma State and finished with 23 carries for 163 yards.
Patrick ended his junior season with 761 yards and four TDs.
Even with DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Mossis Madu in the backfield, Patrick quickly took over the starting job in 2007 and rushed for 1,009 yards and eight touchdowns on just 173 carries, an average of 5.8 yards.
Patrick rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on only eight carries against Utah State, hung 145 yards and two TDs on 19 carries against Tulsa, and had 96 yards and two scores on 18 attempts at Colorado.
After settling into a rotation with Brown and Murray, Patrick again slammed Oklahoma State in the season finale, this time for a career-high 202 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
Despite his emergence as one of the primary weapons on one of the most prolific offenses in the country, Patrick never lost his zeal for covering punts. Arguably one of the most exciting plays in the game, Patrick frequently either waylaid punt returners with jarring hits (he hit one runner so hard on a kickoff return it resulted in a torn ACL), or killed the ball inside the opponents’ 5-yard line.
“He's been a stud, no question," Stoops said in 2006. “… He's a tough guy. Loves it. Loves the game.”
Perhaps the one play that Oklahoma fans remember him best for came on special teams, too: the 2006 game at Oregon, when Patrick recovered the Ducks’ onside kick, but Pac-12 officials inexplicably gave possession to the home team. Patrick came out of the pile in clear possession of the football and briefly held the ball in the air, but didn’t make a big deal out of it. Still, after failing to discern what happened on replay (it was the second year of video review and possession of the football was not a reviewable element), replay official Gordon Reise and referee David Cutaia gave the ball to Oregon, and the Ducks drove for the winning touchdown.
Patrick was a seventh-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 (No. 240 overall), and spent the ’08 preseason with Baltimore before heading to Cleveland. He signed with the New York Giants in 2009 before the Jacksonville Jaguars picked him up. He spent parts of the 2010 season with the Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams.
Patrick made some practice squads and had several standout moments in the preseason — and did make the Browns’ final roster in ’08 — but never got into a regular season NFL game.