Something Patrick Corrigan likes about playing linebacker is how often he finds himself in the middle of the action.
During his junior season, Corrigan was in the middle of seemingly everything.
Corrigan, North Forsyth’s bruising middle linebacker, led the team with 112 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. He collected 20 QB hurries, sacked the opposing quarterback six times, recovered four fumbles — returning one for a touchdown — broke up two passes, forced another fumble and had one interception.
And that’s just on defense.
Moonlighting at running back, Corrigan also carried the ball 50 times for 291 yards and four rushing touchdowns
For Corrigan, the 2020 Forsyth County News Defensive Player of the Year, the linebacker position comes naturally.
“I think it’s just being in the middle of everything,” he said. “You’re kind of like a lineman, but then you’re kind of like a safety. You’re in the middle of both of them.”
Corrigan had a terrific sophomore season in 2019, finishing with 69 tackles and a team-high 13 tackles for loss, yet still managed to improve in nearly every statistical category this year.
However, where Corrigan feels he improved the most isn’t shown on the stat sheet.
“I think I took a bigger leadership role,” Corrigan said. “Sophomore year I was still kind of developing a little bit. I feel like I’m pretty much molded to where I want to be right now.”
Corrigan often lined up at the traditional middle linebacker spot, but also rushed the passer from the edge or played a few feet behind the defensive line.
His scoop-and-score fumble return turned a 17-10 fourth-quarter lead against West Forsyth into a two-score lead, securing the Raiders’ victory against the eventual Region 6-7A champion.
It was part of a 5-1 start to the season, with a 10-point loss to Denmark serving as the lone blemish.
Along the way, North topped defending Class 6A state champion Harrison and held a traditionally high-scoring Hapeville Charter team to two scores in a 28-14 win.
Corrigan and the Raiders shut out Etowah, 28-0, and didn’t yield a touchdown in a 28-3 win against Alcovy in the season opener.
“I think with COVID and all, we were amped up – just bottled up and ready to play,” Corrigan said. “Since we were actually able to finally go out there, it was exciting.”
Corrigan also had a couple of his best offensive games early in the season, rushing for 82 yards on 11 carries against Hapeville and turning five carries into 76 yards against Denmark.
“Running back is pretty much just linebacker on offense, really. It’s kind of second nature,” Corrigan said. “I just try to get as many yards as I can.”
For his inspiration, Corrigan draws on one of the greatest, most feared football players in NFL history.
“Well, my favorite player is Lawrence Taylor,” Corrigan said. “I’m not as fast as him, but I look up to his game.”
Not many linebackers are as fast as Taylor, who was 6-foot-3, 237 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds.
But Corrigan certainly looks the part.
Every bit of the 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker listed on North’s roster, Corrigan and the 1999 Hall of Fame inductee have strikingly similar frames.
And like Taylor, you don’t have to look too hard to find Corrigan on defense.
Right in the middle of the action.