Washington State receiver Dezmon Patmon has heard for years, including from coach Mike Leach and outside-receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., that he needed to use his unusual size at the position to his advantage.
The 6-foot-4, 228-pound senior has obviously listened, getting better in each of his seasons at Washington State, and he appears primed for a huge season this year. He got off to a good start, catching a team-high seven passes for a team-high 103 yards and a touchdown in the 58-7 win over New Mexico State on Saturday.
Patmon caught 61 passes last season for a team-high 861 yards, and scored five touchdowns. He has been named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation’s top receiver.
“(Leach and Spurrier Jr.), they always harped to me to play to my size, and through the years, I think I’ve definitely been able to use that as my advantage,” Patmon said.
Patmon might catch a lot more passes playing on another team, but Leach uses an eight-player rotation at receiver. That spreads the production, and last year 10 WSU players caught at least 20 passes.
“That’s just how this offense is,” Patmon said. “There is not really one guy. I will run a route to get the Y receiver open or the Y receiver will run a route to get Z open, and vice versa with the X and H (receivers). Everybody is playing a specific part to get everyone open. There aren’t any selfish receivers on this team.”
Patmon and the rest of the receivers have a new quarterback throwing to them this season in fifth-year senior Anthony Gordon, who completed 29 of 35 passes for 420 yards and five touchdowns against New Mexico State.
“We can help by doing our assignment, doing our job, getting open and just catching the ball and making the routine plays,” Patmon said. “If we do our job, the quarterback is able to do his job.”
Patmon said he does not have individual goals for the season.
“As a team I just want to win every game,” he said.
He said the team shouldn’t be satisfied with last year’s school-record 11 victories.
“Good is the enemy of great,” he said. “We’re trying to set a higher goal and a higher standard than last year, and we’re trying to be better than last year.”
Patmon has made great strides after coming to Pullman from Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, where he was a three-star recruit.
“I was drawn in by the offense,” he said. “And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
Patmon played as a true freshman, with two receptions for the season. As he continued to build strength, his role got bigger and he caught 35 passes as a sophomore as part of the rotation while also earning Pac-12 Conference All-Academic honorable mention.
He nearly doubled his production last season. Patmon can go out in style with a big final season. He said his time at WSU has gone by very quickly.
“Everybody always says that time moves by fast, but you don’t really believe it until you’re sitting right here in your senior year,” he said.
As a senior, he knows it’s his responsibility to be a good example for the younger players.
“I feel like everybody needs to police each other, and become our own leaders,” he said. “I try to lead by example, because I’m not really a vocal guy, but we need to establish a whole player-led culture so the team will have a bunch of leaders.”