MICHIGAN Fans in frenzy over Patterson
QB could transfer to Michigan because of Ole Miss bowl ban
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
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.”
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson is expected, per multiple reports, to visit Michigan this weekend.