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Yelm football duo Brayden Platt (Oregon), Isaiah Patterson (UCLA) sign in 2023-24 National Early Signing Period

Two years ago, the standouts struck up a unique friendship. Now, both NCAA Division I-bound linebackers are enrolling in college early

YELM, Wash. - The heart-warming friendship between town lifer and hesitant outsider started two years ago.

Isaiah Patterson was coming from a shaky home life in Vancouver, and opted to move north to the outskirts of Yelm to live with his maternal grandmother.

Brayden Platt was hailed as the hometown sports hero - coming from one of the most-accomplished families in the area.

The teenagers immediately bonded - and celebrated their biggest to-date goals by signing their national letters of intent Wednesday in the 2023-24 early signing period.

Both now-graduated linebackers, Patterson signed with UCLA; Platt with Oregon - and are enrolling in college early.

"Our community is so unique and small that we have to be welcoming," Yelm coach Jason Ronquillo said. "We want to be welcoming."

When Patterson arrived in 2022, he only knew Kyler Ronquillo and a couple of Yelm football coaches.

But he kept hearing about the Platt name.

"I got to school, and everyone is talking about this big-shot linebacker, and I am like, 'Who is this kid? So, I looked him up," Patterson said. "And in fourth period, I had math class with him, and we sat next to each other.

"From then on, we started talking."

Talking. Training together. Hanging out constantly.

"I feel we are in very similar positions, at least like with football, recruiting-wise," PLatt said. "Our mindsets are the same - we both want the same goals. It is easy to connect with someone who is driven in the same way, and mostly likes to do the same things you want to do."

The Platt family has been one of many that has welcomed Patterson to a new community with open arms.

Except Patterson didn't make the best first impression.

The first time I went over to their house, I flipped their side by side (sports utility vehicle). That was a great kickoff," said Patterson, laughing about the incident years latter.

"But Mama Platt and Coach Platt always make it known that I am welcomed at their house - and always good for a good meal."

One of the duo's strongest bonds is their workouts together - in the home weight-room or up at Ford Sports Performance in Bellevue.

And yet, those workouts can get very competitive, and a little heated.

"It gets a little argumentative," Platt said.

Added Patterson: "Ask our (personal) trainer, and he thinks we act like an old married couple."