After much speculation, expectations have finally become reality as Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson is transferring to Michigan. He announced the move via Twitter.
— Shea Patterson (@SheaPatterson_1) December 11, 2017
Due to the recent NCAA findings at Ole Miss, a number of current players are looking to transfer out. Patterson (6-2 203) was the most coveted of the prospective free agents.
Ole Miss is not permitted to play in a bowl following the 2018 season, so juniors have been permitted to transfer without sitting out an entire season. That same luxury has not been afforded to underclassmen like Patterson, but he and others are planning to apply for immediate eligibility regardless.
If that happens, Michigan may have just landed the best quarterback in the Big Ten, if not the nation.
Patterson originally signed with Ole Miss, where he arrived as the top quarterback prospect in the 2016 recruiting class. He was originally being redshirted as a true freshman, but an injury to starting quarterback Chad Kelly with three games to go last season forced Patterson onto the field.
Patterson responded to his battlefield promotion with 880 yards passing in three games, with Ole Miss going 1-2 in those games.
The 2017 season kicked off with an explosion from Patterson, as he threw for 429 and 489 yards in season-opening wins over South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin, respectively.
Patterson only played in seven games this season, however, as his year was cut short by a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his knee. In those seven games, however, he threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
What does this mean for Michigan football?
If Patterson is immediately eligible, he will give a dynamic boost to a 2018 quarterback competition that was mainly looking to be rising redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters and rising redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey.
Peters was obviously the odds-on favorite to keep the starting quarterback job, but now that is up in the air with the possibility of Patterson being eligible from day one.
If Patterson isn’t eligible to play in 2018, however, it will be interesting to see if he then heads to the NFL after next season without ever even playing a snap for the Wolverines.
With an eligible Shea Patterson at the helm, Michigan would have arguably the most talented passer in the Big Ten, an improving group of receivers and tight ends, and a stable of running backs that is only getting more dynamic by the year.
He would be the most talented natural passer at Michigan in over a decade, surrounded by the best group of skill players in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure.
After a disappointing 2017 season, the arrival of Shea Patterson could signify a turning point for Michigan football.
And even if he isn’t eligible immediately, everything about the receivers, tight ends, and running backs would still hold true for current starting quarterback Brandon Peters, who will simply have to ignore how much attention is being given to a player who is coming to Michigan with the express purpose of taking his job.
[Shea Patterson photo courtesy OleMissSports.com]