A long time coming
By the time Patrick Fields was in the eighth grade, he had a plan and the work ethic of playing college football. Now the senior Tulsa Union safety is clocking in at No. 9 in The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings of the best recruits in the state.
While most other middle schoolers were sleeping or finishing last minute homework, Patrick Fields was loading plates onto the squat machine at the Gold’s Gym near his house in Tulsa.
He was only in eighth grade, but Fields already had his future figured out.
He wanted to play college football, and he knew the 6 a.m. trips to the gym before going to school would help him achieve that goal.
“A lot of people used to ask me (why I was there),” said the safety, who’s No. 9 in The Oklahoman’s Super 30. “They used to respect me a lot, just the fact that I was in there and trying to work. I didn’t necessarily know everything, know exactly what to do, but the fact that I was trying to do better.”
Fields’ determination hasn’t changed since entering high school, and his focus is paying off as he prepares to continue his football career at Oklahoma after his senior season at Tulsa Union.
“Eighth grade, I was going to the gym before school and now it’s like, a lot of people want to go out and party,” he said. “For me, I understand where I’m trying to go, and doing things like that can hinder my success.”
From about the time that he began pumping iron alongside the middle-aged men getting in
their pre-work exercise, Fields knew he was different.
He’s always been social, but in his last year of middle school, Fields realized he just didn’t want to goof off and play around like many of his friends. He was driven to achieve his goals, and he didn’t want to get derailed early in the process.
So he withdrew a bit and worked on himself.
“I was really social in sixth and seventh grade, talked to a lot of people, knew a lot of people, but as I started to mature, I found that I didn’t really find pleasure in a lot of the things they find pleasure in, which was kind of hard at that young age,” Fields said. “I didn’t really understand. I would be in a room full of people, but I’d feel like I’m by myself because I can’t really relate to them.”
As he made his way to high school, Fields began establishing himself as a leader, and his teammates and coaches took notice.
“(Fields and OSU commit CJ Moore) always took it upon themselves to be leaders within the group,” Union coach Kirk Fridrich said. “As juniors even, they were holding guys accountable during a practice. I remember challenging our seniors, saying we’ve got two underclassmen that think this is pretty important. So they held their role very well, but they also have been leaders for a long time.”
After he committed to Oklahoma in March, Fields began using his leadership to rally his recruiting class. He not only worked to keep previously committed players loyal to the Sooners, but he also pushed to recruit other players to join them.
A year ago, Fields went to his first recruiting event at Oklahoma: ChampU BBQ.
He was instantly sold on the family atmosphere, the games, and of course, the chicken wings.
“I remember we had some chicken wings, some fried chicken wings,” he said with a grin. “That was like the only thing I ate.
“They were off the chain.”
With another ChampU BBQ on the horizon, Fields is tapping into those leadership skills again, encouraging other potential recruits to come down to Norman to join the class of 2018 — and try the chicken wings.
Union High School’s Patrick Fields has dreamt of playing college football since the eighth grade. Now it looks like his dream will come true.