ARLINGTON, Texas — Tyler Patmon spent three seasons at the University of Kansas, starting 32 games for a program that won just six games in his time in Lawrence, Kan., and had not been to a bowl game since 2008.
So in his final year of college football — his one and only at Oklahoma State — he is soaking up the moment with the Cowboys attending the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s been great. I’ve really been enjoying it, just soaking it all in,” Patmon said. “I’ve had a great time so far and looking forward to playing in this game.”
Cowboy coach Mike Gundy has used Patmon as an example for not taking things for granted. Following the Iowa State victory, which clinched OSU’s eighth-straight season to qualify for a bowl, Patmon sent out a tweet to vocalize his excitement: “Officially bowl eligible for the first time in my college career!!! Feels great but that’s far from the goal!! #ILoveThisFamily #CountOnMe.”
“He always wanted to see what it was like because being at KU, after their last game they got to go home,” sophomore cornerback Ashton Lampkin said. “He said it was always a sick feeling in his stomach every time. Everybody wants to win and go to a bowl game and have fun. He wanted to have that experience.”
But Patmon’s path to Stillwater wasn’t easy.
Patmon elected to leave the Kansas program after he did not appear to be meshing with new coach Charlie Weis. He graduated early from KU, which allowed him to play right away for whichever college he transferred to.
According to first-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, the coaching staff didn’t necessarily need to bring in Patmon — with an already deep cornerback pool led by key contributors Justin Gilbert, Kevin Peterson and Lampkin.
“We really had to make a decision whether we wanted to bring him into our family or not. It wasn’t like we were looking for another player,” Spencer said. “My concern was just the chemistry of our unit and if he could fit in and wouldn’t detract from that — then after that, anything he added as a player would just be a bonus.”
The Cowboy coordinator said it was the attitude of Patmon that has allowed him to fit in with the cornerback crew — and he’s no longer looked at as outsider that joined the program.
“The kid came in and he didn’t have a big attitude, didn’t feel entitled to anything and just wanted to come in and work and the guys accepted him,” Spencer said. “A lot of that was Tyler’s attitude. He didn’t come in thinking that I have one year left, I’ve played in the Big 12 for years, I’m going to come in and take somebody’s job. He just wanted to come in and help and go out a winner.”
That was evident with Lampkin and Peterson teasing the senior cornerback and attempting to distract him during his interview at Monday’s media day.
“We accepted him like a brother, like we do everyone else,” Lampkin said. “The cornerbacks are really close and it’s like a family in our group, and he’s come in a played great and we needed his attributes to help win games.”
And now, with the meshing of Patmon to his new family he has the opportunity to end his college football career in a bowl game — against a former hated rival from his time at Kansas.
“It’s definitely a plus to get to play them,” Patmon said of going against Missouri. “I played against them their last two years before they left the conference. Coming out with a win against them would definitely be a highlight for my career.”
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