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Patchan picks... the Gators! (update)

In just a few moments -- around 1:30 p.m. -- the son of former Hurricane offensive lineman Matt Patchan will decide where he will attend college during a press conference in Tampa.

Matt_patchan_2I'm not there, but I'll be here providing a live update when the 6-7, 270-pound blue-chip lineman from Seffner Armwood announces his decision. So how am I going to find out? One of our regular bloggers, Brandon Brinkley, a grad student living in Tampa and die-hard Hurricanes fan will be there to provide the news! Cool. Now, you guys are becoming part of the process. Love it.

Stay tuned for the details shortly. Brandon tells me a few TV trucks have pulled up to Tampa Palms Country Club, where Patchan will announce his decision in front of friends and family. He'll let me know if anything else interesting develops.

Brandon Brinkley updates...
12:58 p.m. - "In my opinion I think he's going to be a Cane. There are about 20 people here in the  room, a few TV stations and reporters. His high school coaches are here and some of his family have arrived wearing UM gear. Balloons are setup in neutral orange and white colors."

1:10 p.m. - "I was talking with Anthony Reddick's brother and Eric Smith from Armwood and all the family. Matt is a lot smaller than what I thought he was. He's skinny. His uncle was saying Matt has been staying with him for the week in Key West and he doesn't even know where he's going. There are a lot of people here now, about 30-40. 1:30 is when it's supposed to happen. Matt is there in a white button shirt, jeans. He looks tall and skinny. I don't know if its from the mono he had. But he doesn't look as big as he does in pictures. His uncle just kept saying to cross our fingers. He came in and shook the hands of all Canes fans. So that's a good sign."

1:20 p.m. - "More of his Armwood teammates have arrived. Everyone is being tight-lipped about it. So, nobody knows where he is leaning."

1:26 p.m. - "I just talked to another guy who is a family friend. Matt's mom and dad have walked out. They say they don't even know."

1:28 p.m. - "I've heard from family that Matt is in the back on the phone informing UF and UM coaches where he is going. When he comes out, he'll be wearing a shirt of where he's going."

1:31 p.m. - "He's set to make the announcement in moments. As soon as he does, I'll call with the update."

1:38 p.m. - "He's a Gator. He made a couple jokes and said he was going to flip a coin. Ultimately, he said the best decision for him and his goals was to go to Florida."

1:43 p.m. - "Matt said ultimately what swung his decision was the relationship he built with the Florida staff, the strength coach, the position coaches. He said he wants to be around the best talent and he believes it is at Florida. It's funny, as soon as he announced his decision, all the Canes fans left. Now, I'm leaving too."

UPDATE... At 2:30 p.m., I caught up with Matt Patchan Sr. to get his thoughts on his son's announcement. Here is what he said...

Q: Was this Matt’s decision on his own or did you help him reach this decision?
A: I was instrumental in helping him gather information and tried to sort through what was best for him. In the end, the decision was entirely his.

Q: Did you know this morning? Did you have an inkling? When did you figure out where Matt was going?
A: When he announced it to everybody else. He actually didn’t know until about 45 minutes before. Then, before he went over and announced it he came over and whispered it in our ears and we hugged him and told him we supported him and that type of thing. We didn’t know. I don’t know how this works for other people. I don’t know the circumstances could ever be duplicated with the decision he had. Trust me, we’re not complaing. We’re thrilled our son is fortunate enough to be in this position. I don’t know if there’s ever been a recruit as torn between the two schools in making this decision. When I tell you this decision was razor-thin, it was razor-thin.

Q: Why do you think he ultimately picked Florida in your opinion?
A: I just think he thinks deep down inside in his heart this is a better choice for his decision at this time and his future.

Q: I know as a former Hurricane you probably had the Hurricanes deep in your heart and this must have been tough for you, but where did you feel Matt was best served going?
A: I think many people looking at what’s going on in college football now would clearly have to admit that Florida is further along in terms of where they are in competing for conference titles or national championships. I know that was a big factor for Matt. Other than that, I thought everything else was a push as far as the coaches and the players Miami is bringing in and the players Florida has currently. Maybe where things with his quality of life would be pretty similar. I think his decision he just processed everything and he’s going where he decided.

Q: I know as a former Hurricane you’re probably going to get some teasing from your teammates since he went to the Gators, you expecting that?
A: Oh yeah. There were some former Canes here and they’re giving it to me. Everybody knows or they should know that your allegiance is to your son’s future first and its your duty as a dad to help him through the process and do what’s best for him. There will never be a time when I will ever divorce myself from the tradition and the memories I have as a Hurricane. I’ll embrace them forever. I got so much out of them. They’re deep in my heart. They’re indelible and they’ll never go away and I love them. I would have loved to see Matthew go there too. But it’s just one of those things at this time, it just wasn’t so at this time.