Patton also works in the UCLA student athlete organization Athletes for the Future. AFF tours Los Angeles high schools and exhorts students to stay in school and study hard. "We go as athletes because it seems like the kids listen, " Patton said. "But we don't talk about sports; we talk about education. I feel it's very important to be positive role models."
Despite Patton's gentle demeanor, the nickname General suits him well. His father wanted him to be named Marcus, after the Roman emperor and warrior Marcus Aurelius. But he also wanted him to be different, hence the v . The name Marcus comes from Mars, the god of war. "As it turns out, he turned into a warrior on the football field," his mother, Barbara, said.
Patton was raised by his mother after he was 9, when his father, a police officer, was killed. The Los Angeles Police Department is still paying for Patton's education in a program for children of officers killed in the line of duty. Because of the police scholarship, Patton was never offered an athletic scholarship.
"Marvcus was not a problem at all to raise by myself," Barbara Patton said. "He was a good baby, a good kid, and now he's a wonderful young man."
All of Patton's coaches, past and present, agree with his mother.
"He has qualities we'd all like to see in our children" Field said.
"I'm not sure anybody works harder to prepare themselves," Donahue said. "In addition he's a fine young man. We've never had an ounce of problem with him since he's been here, and I can't say that about everybody."
"This kid is really special," Carnes said. "We're all very proud of him."
Patton appreciates what others say of his character, but he'd like to add a few football compliments. He would also like to stay closer to home on New Year's Day, 1990. "I would like to have a good senior year," Patton said.
"I'm also looking forward to the Michigan and USC games . . . and I'd like the team to get in to the Rose Bowl."
Patton has been to the Cotton, Aloha, and Freedom Bowls, all victories for the Bruins.