Utah State senior linebacker Patrick Lee Miranda moved across the country to play college football.
Miranda is a first-generation American as his parents were born in Cape Verde, an island country off the west coast of Africa. Miranda, who is from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, started playing football at the age of 7 on a Pop Warner team.
“I wouldn’t have ever played football if it weren’t for the flyer they gave out in elementary school,” Miranda said. “I got that, and I didn’t have any hobbies at that age, so I figured I’d play football.”
Miranda played his first two seasons of collegiate football at Chabot Junior College in Hayward, California. Utah State co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Kendrick Shaver looked at Miranda during his time there.
“He came and visited me my freshman year at my junior college,” Miranda said. “Then, my sophomore year, I had a really great year. They decided to offer me in the spring, so I signed a few days after signing day and that was pretty cool.”
Shaver said Miranda is fun to be around on and off the field.
“Patrick is a pleasurable young man to be around. He keeps it loud and he keeps it joking,” he said. “He’s one of those guys where he always has a punchline, a joke or guys are punch-lining on him with a joke. When he comes in, guys are joking with him, and that’s what he brings — a jovial atmosphere.”
Miranda said as far as the weather and seasons, there isn't much of a difference between Utah and Rhode Island. However, he said his home state is very diverse and changes every 10 minutes. In Logan, it’s a college town and things stay pretty consistent.
"It’s been interesting just waking up and seeing the mountains every day," Miranda said. "I’m still probably not really used to it."
Miranda has enjoyed his time in Logan.
“The best part about being an Aggie is the environment that you’re in. Our AD (John Hartwell) likes to say this: it’s like a fishbowl out here," Miranda said. "Being in a fishbowl, a lot of people know you and they hold you to a standard. They are die-hard fans, and they’ll rock with you until the end no matter what the score of the game is. We have really loyal fans in the Mountain West, and I feel like it’s a great advantage for us and we can’t take it for granted.”
Miranda said his biggest accomplishment was getting to Utah State.
“Just being here is a blessing. I’ve been really humbled since I’ve gotten here," Miranda said. "I’m just grateful for the opportunity they gave me.”
During his junior year in 2016 at Utah State, Miranda played in eight games and finished with seven tackles. Miranda recorded two tackles against Weber State, Boise State and Fresno State, and he had another stop against Nevada.
As a sophomore at Chabot JC, Miranda earned California Community College Athletic Association first-team all-state and first-team all-region honors. During the season, Miranda recorded 102 tackles as the Gladiators went 9-3 on the year and appeared in the Northern California Football Association championship game, along with winning the Valley League Championship.
As a freshman with the Gladiators, Miranda earned first-team California Community College Football Coaches Association All-America honors, as well as first-team all-state and all-region honors. Miranda recorded 118 tackles and had six double-digit tackle games on the season.
But Miranda isn't done yet.
"Last year was my first year here and we didn’t get to go to a bowl game," Miranda said. "So, if anything, I would say a bowl game would be the greatest thing that we could get; the best thing that we could get.”
When he's not playing football, Miranda loves to shop.
"I’m very fashionable; I’m always on top of fashion and stuff like that," Miranda said. "I’m really into shoes — I have a lot of shoes, anybody could tell you that — and I’m definitely into clothes.”
Miranda is set to graduate with a degree in pre-physical therapy in December. Miranda is interested in doing strength and conditioning but may end up doing additional schooling.Comment on this story
“In the classroom I saw him grow,” Shaver said. “When he first got here, he struggled academically, and the second semester, his GPA went up considerably.”
Shaver said Miranda grew academically because he started using his resources.
“When he started using his resources, his grades went up dramatically and that’s where I saw him mature,” Shaver said. “He’s going to be successful because the young man can communicate well. He’s going to get his degree in December, so he’s got a bright future in the work field.”
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.