For Shreveport, Louisiana, 5-star quarterback Shea Patterson, the basic art of visual processing made his college recruiting a lot simpler than expected.
In front of family and friends at Calvary Baptist Academy, Patterson announced his verbal commitment to Ole Miss and became the Rebels' top-ranked pledge and ninth pledge overall. Patterson chose Ole Miss over offers from LSU, USC and a host of other programs.
For Patterson, the decision came down to comfort. As his three favorites—Ole Miss, LSU and USC—all had great campus environments and solid coaching staffs, he made his choice with the help of reminiscing how he felt after each trip.
"I've been to all three schools and to a game at each place," Patterson said. "Whenever I go to a game, I try to visualize myself in their uniform and with their fans. I try to get that sense of can I see myself playing there.
"I only saw it with one school."
Patterson has made a couple of trips to Ole Miss, the latest coming the weekend of Jan. 31. He was in Oxford when Ole Miss played Auburn on Nov. 1. It was the game in which Laquon Treadwell suffered a gruesome leg injury late in the fourth quarter.
Patterson said there was a different feeling in the air after that game, one that made him feel like he could immediately call Ole Miss home.
"I've been there two or three times, and every time, I've gotten a new sense of being comfortable," Patterson said. "When Treadwell got hurt...I don't know, it was just a different feeling. I was just sitting there and visualizing if I could play there. Watching the crowd after [the injury] happened, I felt so comfortable afterward."
Ole Miss gets the nation's No. 3 pro-style quarterback and the No. 17 overall player in the 247Sports player rankings for the Class of 2016. According to The (Shreveport) Times, Patterson threw for 2,428 yards and 38 touchdowns as a junior, and he led Calvary High School to its second straight Louisiana Division III championship. In two years, he's thrown for 5,083 yards, 72 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Recruited by quarterbacks coach Dan Werner, Patterson said the relationships built with the members of the coaching staff also made his decision a fairly easy one. Patterson said he speaks with Werner almost daily.
Patterson's recruiting started early. As a freshman, Patterson received an offer from Arizona, and on Dec. 7, 2012, he verbally committed to the Wildcats. After taking a few months to re-evaluate his process—one that included more than 20 offers—Patterson decommitted from Arizona in July 2014.
One of Patterson's first visits to Ole Miss came in 2013 before entering his sophomore year. His love for the school and his respect for head coach Hugh Freeze have been high ever since.
"Since I first went there, I knew that was a place I could see myself," he said, "but I think I've known pretty solid I wanted to commit there for about two-and-a-half weeks."
Now that the commitment is done, Patterson said he plans on being an ace player-recruiter for the Rebels. He has a few players on his list to help the Rebels sign, including 4-star wide receiver Mykel Jones, 4-star running back Devin White, 4-star defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, 4-star receiver Devin Duvernay, 4-star receiver Clyde Leflore and 3-star Arizona running back commit Trevor Speights.
"[Committing] is just the start of my recruiting process," Patterson said. "I'm going to do the best I can to help bring the best class there. Mykel's one of my best friends. We've definitely talked about going to school together. Devin's a Bo Jackson-type, and Rashard's been on my radar.
"A guy like Trevor will be hard to flip, though. I know he really likes Arizona, but I'm going to try and get him, too. Whatever he does, I'm happy with, though."
Patterson said he's planning on participating in the Rivals Quarterback Challenge on March 15 in Dallas and the Elite 11 competition March 28 in New Orleans. Patterson has aspirations of graduating in December and becoming an early enrollee for spring 2016.
Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles