MICHI­GAN Fans in frenzy over Pat­ter­son

QB could trans­fer to Michi­gan be­cause of Ole Miss bowl ban

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY AN­GELIQUE S. CHENGELIS The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — The prospects of quar­ter­back Shea Pat­ter­son trans­fer­ring to Michi­gan have sent Wolver­ines fans on mes­sage boards and so­cial me­dia and sports-talk ra­dio into a frenzy.

Pat­ter­son, a quar­ter­back at Ole Miss who might po­ten­tially trans­fer be­cause of the NCAA hit­ting the school with a sec­ond post-sea­son ban added to this year’s self-im­posed ban, is ex­pected, per mul­ti­ple re­ports, to visit Michi­gan this week­end along with Ole Miss team­mates Deon­tay An­der­son, a safety, and re­ceiver Van Jef­fer­son.

It is an­tic­i­pated the three will at­tend the Michi­gan-UCLA bas­ket­ball game Satur­day at the Crisler Cen­ter.

Michi­gan coach Jim Har­baugh was in Ox­ford, Miss., ear­lier in the week to meet with the play­ers. While the NCAA is al­low­ing ris­ing Ole Miss se­niors to trans­fer with­out sit­ting a year, it is un­clear how Pat­ter­son and Michi­gan would cir­cum­vent that rule for the 2018 sea­son.

If Pat­ter­son, who made seven starts this sea­son be­fore suf­fer­ing a torn pos­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment, is cleared to im­me­di­ately play, Greg McEl­roy, a former Alabama quar­ter­back and cur­rent ESPN col­lege foot­ball an­a­lyst, thinks he will flour­ish with Har­baugh.

“This kid is ex­tremely spe­cial when it comes to be­ing able to im­pro­vise,” McEl­roy told The Detroit News in a tele­phone in­ter­view Thurs­day. “One thing I think that has held Michi­gan back, in to­day’s game it’s hard to ex­pect quar­ter­backs to op­er­ate solely in the of­fense. Shea’s best qual­i­ties are cre­at­ing on his own. Some­times that gets him in trou­ble, but for the most part he’s an elec­tric player.

“With Jim Har­baugh’s lead­er­ship and tute­lage, he could be a real a star.”

Pat­ter­son was born in Toledo, and his grand­fa­ther, Ge­orge Pat­ter­son, played for the Detroit Pis­tons in the ’60s. His fam­ily moved to Texas when he was in fifth grade, and then to Louisiana. He com­pleted his high school ca­reer play­ing his fi­nal sea­son at IMG Acad­emy in Braden­ton, Fla. That should sound fa­mil­iar to Michi­gan fans for many rea­sons, con­sid­er­ing that’s where Har­baugh took the team for the fi­nal week of spring prac­tice in 2016, and fresh­man of­fen­sive line­man Ce­sar Ruiz, the No. 1 cen­ter out of high school, was Pat­ter­son’s cen­ter at IMG.

He was the game MVP in the U.S. Army All-Amer­i­can Bowl and then en­rolled early at Ole Miss. From all ac­counts, Pat­ter­son was the big­gest quar­ter­back to come through Ox­ford since Eli Man­ning.

He made 10 starts at Ole Miss, in­clud­ing three as a fresh­man in 2016 when his red­shirt was burned. He re­placed starter Chad Kelly who had been hurt and in his first start he led the Rebels from a nine-point deficit and scored 23 points in the fourth quar­ter for a 29-28 win over thenNo. 8 Texas A&M.

This sea­son be­fore his knee in­jury, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Pat­ter­son com­pleted 63.8 per­cent of his passes for 2,259 yards, 17 touch­downs and nine in­ter­cep­tions.

“It was un­for­tu­nate hurt,” McEl­roy said.

“With the of­fense he was run­ning, that group could have got­ten bet­ter and bet­ter and bet­ter. He has some things you can’t teach. Just be­ing able to feel the rush. He has some (Johnny) Manziel qual­i­ties. He’s ex­tremely con­fi­dent. He’s not hurt­ing in that cat­e­gory.”

To il­lus­trate an ex­am­ple of Pat­ter­son’s con­fi­dence, at one point

he

got af­ter the 2016 sea­son, McEl­roy posted to Twit­ter his top five re­turn­ing quar­ter­backs in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence. Pat­ter­son was not one of them.

“He tweeted at me, be­cause I didn’t have him in there,” McEl­roy said, laugh­ing. “And I said, ‘Dude, you started three games,’ and he said, ‘OK. Noted.’ ”

Pat­ter­son, a sopho­more this year, would join a young quar­ter­back room at Michi­gan.

Red­shirt fresh­man Bran­don Peters started three of the last four games and missed the sea­son fi­nale against Ohio State be­cause of a con­cus­sion suf­fered in the Wis­con­sin game. Dy­lan McCaf­frey is a fresh­man who ran the scout team this fall.

The Wolver­ines have a tough sched­ule next sea­son that kicks off at Notre Dame in a night game on Sept. 1, and also fea­tures ri­valry games on the road at Michi­gan State and Ohio State.

McEl­roy said, how­ever, that if Pat­ter­son does join Michi­gan, it’s not like he can just plug right into the of­fense. Michi­gan of­fense, he said, will have to be shaped to adapt to him.

“If Shea went up there, it would be fun to see him op­er­at­ing with other guys com­ing up and see­ing what they have of­fen­sively. It wouldn’t be what we’ve come to know of Jim Har­baugh. He’d be the first guy he’s had who cre­ates like this.”

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ole Miss quar­ter­back Shea Pat­ter­son is ex­pected, per mul­ti­ple re­ports, to visit Michi­gan this week­end.

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