This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah assistant Aaron Roderick was spending his bye week in 2013 how he's spent most: in the stands of a high school or junior college football game, looking for the next big thing.

He and then-Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian had come to Fullerton College that weekend to see four-star prospect Nick Kurtz, playing for Grossmont College. Their former BYU teammate K.O. Kealaluhi, who coached Grossmont's receivers, told them to pay attention to a slim, tall wideout wearing No. 9.

It turned out to be an exhibition for No. 9 in the 79-44 win: He caught a season-high eight passes for 199 yards and a touchdown, including a 75-yard play for his first catch in which he blew by a cornerback, then threaded through the secondary after the catch to bring his team to the cusp of the end zone.

After the game, Kealaluhi told Roderick if the Utes didn't end up recruiting Tim Patrick, Kealaluhi would never forgive them.

"Everyone has ability, but I'm talking about confidence, hunger," Kealaluhi told The Tribune recently. "I could tell by the way he was catching, working out, running his routes, he was there because he wanted to get better. It wasn't about ability. He just needed an opportunity."

After a longer-than-expected delay to his career, Patrick is showing the promise that coaches believed he had. Leading the Utes with 14 catches, 285 yards and four touchdowns, Patrick has left little doubt that he's capable of being a No. 1 receiver and helping revitalize Utah's passing game.

Within the program, many believe had Patrick played last season — when he was sidelined due to a slow-healing fractured tibia from 2014 — he could've helped tip Utah into a South Division championship instead of losing a tiebreaker to USC. With a new quarterback, a revamped offensive balance and a 3-0 start in 2015, the Utes think Patrick could help lead them there this year as well.

Patrick is his own biggest believer: "Knowing and thinking in my head there's no [defensive back] who can guard me, and just going out to every game like you're the best player on the field."

But getting there took time. Patrick's start at Grossmont wasn't stellar, and by his sophomore year, he was so far behind in the classroom, he had dipped far below the radar.

Kealaluhi told Patrick about his own story: He had been a standout at Grossmont and BYU, but when he made it to the NFL, he faltered. He had never been self-motivated, and when it was time to sink or swim on his own, he didn't last long.

If Patrick hoped to make it to the next level and beyond, Kealaluhi said, he had to want it.

"It's not difficult physically, it's mental. It's just doing the right things. Have a plan. I didn't have that," he said. "For me, I didn't have a plan, and now I lost all that because I wasn't prepared for it. That's what separates a great player and the greatest player."

In his last six games at Grossmont, Patrick went over 100 yards three times, including the game at Fullerton that convinced Roderick he was worth taking a chance on. Utah told Patrick it would allow him to walk on in 2014 and award him a scholarship once school began — a process known as pushing forward, because the scholarship counts against the next year's class. He had to call Roderick every day to tell the coaching staff what academic work he had done that day.

For three months, Patrick called Roderick daily without fail to review his classwork. Through his spring and summer final semester, he completed more than 20 credits, showing Utah he was all-in.

"He ended up buckling down and getting it done," coach Kyle Whittingham said. "It was a big win for all of us."

Patrick ascended the depth chart that first season, but his career was nearly derailed when he snapped his leg against Oregon in 2014. The injury capsized his junior year, then he had to sit out in 2015 as the bone continued to heal.

Former Utah receiver Kenneth Scott said when Patrick attempted to play, he ran slow and awkwardly. He was counseled to simply wait until he was ready to shine.

"He didn't look like himself. He was gimpy," Scott said. "I told him to take a chill pill and just relax. … Sitting out that year, that was good for him — a blessing and curse."

Patrick's promise is finally being delivered. Despite getting the attention of a No. 1 receiver, so far, no team has been able to stop him. At 6-foot-5 and as a former basketball player, he has precise body control in the air that helps him dominate smaller corners. But he also has speed that he's showcased on long catches downfield delivered by Troy Williams.

Kealaluhi calls Patrick's style "street ball," as in "You're playing pick-up, and you'll do whatever it takes to catch it over your friend."

Patrick knows that with more production comes more defensive scrutiny. He imagines that soon, Pac-12 opponents will have to dedicate multiple defensive backs to stopping him.

Good, he said. It's about time Utah's passing game starts intimidating some people.

"Honestly, no team respects our passing game as you can tell: The first three teams we played all pressed us, and they were all lower division teams," he said. "So what do you think the bigger division teams are gonna do? They're gonna press us just like everybody else did. So we gotta show them we can pass, and once we do, I promise you they'll start backing up."

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Tim Patrick's big start

SUU • 5 receptions, 105 yards, 2 TDs

BYU • 3 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD

SJSU • 6 receptions, 121 yards, 1 TD