Welp, it happened. Jim Harbaugh just put himself back in the limelight as he and the rest of the Wolverines coaching staff has decided to pursue a transfer quarterback to fill the depth chart after the loss of three scholarship signal callers. And the guy they just landed happened to be the #1 quarterback recruit from the 2016 recruiting class as sophomore QB Shea Patterson has decided to transfer to Michigan from Ole Miss.
— Shea Patterson (@SheaPatterson_1) December 11, 2017
It’s pretty hard not to compare him to Johnny Manziel or Baker Mayfield. He’s got a good arm, is very accurate, and can make pretty much every throw. But it’s his ability to create big plays out of nothing that makes everyone bring up the Johnny Football comparisons. He’s a versatile athlete, tough, quicker than fast, can throw on the run, and has the instincts needed for a play making college quarterback. While he hasn’t reached the former Heisman trophy winner’s level yet, he has the natural talent to reach those same individual accomplishments.
For another comparison, the closest thing Michigan has ever had to Shea Patterson may be Jim Harbaugh.
As a high school quarterback, he was unreal (there’s a reason he was the #4 overall player in the class). But as a college quarterback, he’s far from his ceiling. Patterson has only played in and started 10 games as a Ole Miss Rebel, and has gone just 4-6 in those games and saw his sophomore year come to an end when he tore PCL in October against LSU. But he actually led the SEC in passing at the time of his injury.
He’s shown signs of being a star, like his recruiting ranking expected, but he still has plenty of work to do. Working with Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the coaching staff should help him tighten up his pocket awareness, ball security, and reads. The rest of the talent on the roster should help him too as the entire Ole Miss program was pretty depleted throughout his time in Oxford thanks to the NCAA investigation and eventual firing of Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze. But even with the issues, he still put up pretty solid numbers through the air (including breaking the Ole Miss single passing game mark with 489 yards vs UT Martin) and some skewed numbers on the ground thanks to sacks and tackles for loss.
With a better roster and NFL level coaches around him, he could reach his potential in Ann Arbor. That is if he can adapt to Michigan’s pro-style offense and beat out Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton for the starting job.
- Good ball speed/pace, can push ball downfield or put it on a line
- Good athlete for position that can pick up chunks on the ground (designed or scramble)
- Does well to extend plays and keep eyes downfield
- Good mechanics on roll out
- Play makerWeaknesses
- Sometimes has accuracy issues due to avoiding pressure
- Will drop eyes when facing pressure
- Will get stuck on first read too long, disrupting the timing of the progression (but does move on in progression)
- Will have an over-reliance on legs at times
Scouting report from Dan Shonka, a longtime NFL scout and general manager at Ourlads.com via SECCounty.com
Yeah, certainly if he’s mentally [strong]….Johnny fell apart between the ears….We worried about that with Manziel when he came out, just because he’s from money, and it didn’t matter to him. He could make decisions, and it didn’t matter. He made a lot of bad decisions, because nobody corralled him. His folks didn’t corral him. He did what he wanted to do, because he was immensely talented and obviously very immature. So now if we get maturity and things like that [from Patterson], I think the talent – he’s bigger. He’s bigger than Manziel. And there are some talent similarities.”
ESPN’s Greg McElroy on Patterson’s fit at Michigan, via DetNews
This kid is extremely special when it comes to being able to improvise,” McElroy said in a telephone interview Thursday with The Detroit News. “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.”
If you follow the site, we’ve been following every twist and turn of this transfer recruitment. Here’s the full recap:
Before getting into the recent news, you have to go back to know about why Michigan has always been a factor for Patterson. Originally from Toledo and having family members in the Ann Arbor area, it’s been well documented that Patterson grew up a fan of the Wolverines. But he plans to be more than just a fan of the Wolverines.
Here’s what I wrote in the article about him receiving his offer back in June of 2014:
From early on, Michigan had been rumored to being in this one thanks to Patterson having family in the Ann Arbor area. With Nussmeier looking for a pro or duel threat guy, Patterson is the perfect mix. When he visits this summer, the staff has the chance to blow him away and possibly jump to the top of the list with Arizona.”
And then there’s what he told CBSSports’ Dennis Dodd in May:
Despite knowing W Speight since hs, despite born in Toledo, despite family UM season tickets, S Patterson says Harbaugh did not recruit him.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) May 30, 2017
Shea Patterson: “I had dreams of playing in the Big House.”
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) May 30, 2017
But not much was taken from those tweets besides the fact that Michigan potentially missed its chance at landing him in the first place. Oh well, move on. Right? Well, thanks to the most expected NCAA rules infraction in quite sometime, Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss were under investigation with nothing but bad news coming down the pipeline. But it wasn’t until the news of the NCAA adding a second year on to the program’s self imposed bowl ban started to come out that things started to heat up with Patterson and Michigan.
And it happened pretty quickly.
From the small things like Patterson following Jim Harbaugh and plenty of other Michigan accounts on Twitter, as well as Michigan’s graphic artist Aaron Bills following Patterson, to much bigger noise, like some rumors about the possibility of him transferring to the Wolverines growing from hearsay to several respected analysts and insiders hearing positive things about his chances of ending up in Ann Arbor.
The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb has been mentioning Patterson’s name on the transfer wire for nearly a month now, back when the Jacob Eason rumors were starting. Mentioning that he’d be “shocked” if Patterson didn’t look at the Wolverines if he decided to leave Ole Miss.
But Webb backed off of the positivity last week as he was hearing that there was not strong mutual interest between the two parties ($). Most believing it was more of Michigan’s decision.
And then the craziness of this college football postseason struck the situation and Webb’s gut found some antacids as his source close to the situation said things had taken a 180 and Michigan was still in play ($). He also touched on the transfer rules in-terms of immediate eligibility, which may end up being the make or break factor here:
My gut tells me that every school interested in Patterson has their respective compliance departments researching whether there is an avenue for Patterson to be deemed immediately eligible. NCAA transfer rules mandate guaranteed immediate eligibility only for players departing a school hit with a postseason ban that spans the duration of their remaining eligibility. Patterson doesn’t fall under that umbrella, but i’d be SHOCKED if compliance departments aren’t researching possible exceptions.”
Webb wasn’t the only person hearing good things about the possibility of this actually happening. When news broke on Saturday of Patterson getting permission from Ole Miss to seek a transfer, Ole Miss Spirit’s David Johnson mentioned that sources close to the Rebels program are hearing good things about Ann Arbor being his potential landing spot ($):
Well-placed sources also told the Ole Miss Spirit that Michigan is probably the favorite to land Patterson, if he does execute a transfer from Ole Miss.”
Rivals’ Ole Miss affiliate, Rebel Grove’s site editor, Chase Parham joined in as well. In his story on Ole Miss giving Patterson the green light to transfer, he mentioned that he’s been hearing very good things about Michigan for awhile:
Sources have indicated for weeks that Michigan is one school interested in the former five-star quarterback. Greg Biggins, a reporter for 247, said the Patterson family would like to have a decision by December 20.”
Parham also jumped onto The Wolverine’s message board to pitch the story and expanding on things, adding that there are rumors of Patterson already doing a little recruiting himself ($).
Part of the sudden change in feeling on Michigan’s side of things was rumored to be in part because of Harbaugh and his staff changing its tune on adding him to the roster and/or Wilton Speight’s transfer announcement. But the exact reasoning is unknown just yet.
There were the reports of the quarterbacks on Michigan’s roster, as well as the two 2018 commitments, being against bringing him in. But it’s unclear if that happened exactly or, if it did, is it cleared up now?
The Wolverine Lounge’s Brandon Justice has also mentioned a possible holdup being a list of some expectations from Patterson, which now looks to have been worked out. Justice also mentioned that he’s been hearing positive things on Michigan’s chances to land the former #1 quarterback recruit.
One thing that may have been a part of the things Patterson was looking for in a school was the chance to continue being a part of the same program as his brother, Sean (who is the Associate Director of Recruiting Operations at Ole Miss).
247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong dropped a note on the TheMichiganInsider message board on Saturday, as he’s been hearing from an outside source about the possible addition of the older Patterson to the Michigan staff ($).
Can Michigan find the loophole? Would the NCAA clear the move with or without his brother involved? Those are just two of the many questions out there regarding Patterson possibly ending up at Michigan. And it doesn’t even include the potential impact it would have on the current quarterbacks on the roster and the two committed to the 2018 class.
As for the original target, Shea Patterson, it looks likely that he’ll end up joining the Michigan football program and it may not be too long before that becomes reality as, just about everyone, is hearing extremely positive things surrounding the former five star quarterback.
First, there’s a little background on the other connections Patterson has to the Michigan program, from Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman:
Patterson does have a connection on the Michigan staff. In 2012 he committed to Arizona, where Matt Dudek was the Wildcats’ recruiting cooridnator; Dudek is now the Wolverines’ recruiting coordinator. In addition, Cesar Ruiz, who was Patterson’s center when the two were at IMG Academy in Florida, is now at Michigan, where he made three starts at right guard as a freshman this fall.
Even if Patterson wasn’t from Toledo, the Wolverine connection is pretty strong here. But, let’s not act like the soon-to-be Ole Miss transfer’s proximity to Ann Arbor growing up and fandom of the Michigan program isn’t a huge part of why this may happen.
Another big reason is Michigan’s willingness to make things work and it’s why The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown has been feeling confident as the staff looks to find a spot for Shea’s brother and Ole Miss Associate Director of Recruiting, Sean Patterson ($):
It’s believed that Shea and his brother Sean Patterson are a bit of a package deal. Sean is the senior player personnel analyst at Ole Miss and was mentioned as part of the Shea package back during Shea’s recruitment as well. It now looks like the Michigan staff and others could get creative in finding a new role for Sean that would make the package and the family happy,”
Maize and Brew’s Trevor Woods is also hearing very good things on Patterson-to-Michigan, as multiple sources have relayed the positive vibe:
Sources close to the situation say they believe that Patterson’s visit to Ann Arbor this weekend is a formality and, should his visit go through without any speed-bumps, the chances of him committing to Michigan are very high.
Woods also mentioned that, according to his sources, the chances of Patterson and the other Ole Miss transfers winning their appeal and being eligible to play immediately are “very good”.
WTOL-11 Toledo’s Jordan Strack has been all over this story for awhile now, as he has connections to the Patterson family. And though it didn’t look likely just a couple of weeks ago, all signs are pointing towards Patterson being a Wolverine now:
Patterson’s family has not been shy about telling people in Toledo that they want it to happen. It’s obviously not a done-deal, but I can tell you that Michigan has been the desired destination for Patterson for a long while.
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) December 5, 2017
As for another Toledo reporter, the Toledo Blade’s Kyle Rowland is also hearing very positive things:
Sources: Michigan is the front-runner to land Shea Patterson, and the Ole Miss QB expects to be eligible to play immediately.
— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) December 6, 2017
Is that enough confidence for you? No? Well, how about this.
The Michigan Insider’s Sam Webb has put in his first (hypothetical) Crystal Ball selection after the Scout-247Sports merger, and it’s for Shea Patterson to choose Michigan ($):
Another source that also has had direct contact with Patterson in recent days believes this recruitment will end without him visiting anywhere else and will very likely be over this weekend.”
Webb also broke down what the next steps are for Patterson and the Michigan coaching staff, as well as how everything came together with the player first reaching out to the program and not the other way around. He also touched on things involving Patterson’s eligibility and what it means for his potential transfer to Michigan.
Speaking of eligibility, The Wolverine’s Brandon Brown dropped a quick note on that, mentioning how confident the Michigan staff is that all of the players will be eligible to see the field in 2018 ($).
It’s clearly time to buckle up as all signs continue to point towards Michigan here. Much more so than they did just 2-3 days ago.
Well, odds improved even more just one day later when TMI’s Sam Webb dropped his patented “gut feeling” for Patterson to choose Michigan during/right after his visit to Ann Arbor ($).
And, whataya know, Patterson followed through with the decision during his visit (announcing it the day after leaving town) after spending two nights in Ann Arbor, taking in the basketball team’s overtime win over UCLA, hitting the town with John O’Korn and trying on his new Wings:
— Mike Mulholland (@mulho2mj) December 9, 2017
— Kyle Callahan (@kylecallahan14) December 10, 2017
— Barstool Blue (@BarstoolUofM) December 10, 2017
Patterson, the Wolverine, becomes the new top story line for Michigan this offseason. But before the impact on the 2018 season can truly be discussed, he’ll have to be cleared to play by the NCAA. From all reports, things are looking good on that front, though it wasn’t the factor for Patterson everyone was expecting, according to Sam Webb. Webb also nixed a couple other rumors from the recruitment in his breakdown of the Patterson-to-Michigan timeline ($), including the report of Patterson having a list of expectations.
It turns out he just really wanted to fulfill his childhood dream. And now he’ll get to do that.
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 205lbs
- Hometown (School): Toledo, Ohio (Ole Miss from IMG Academy)
- 2016 Recruiting Rankings: Rivals (5*, #3 overall) – 247Sports (5*, #3 overall) – ESPN (4*, #15 overall)
- 2016 Composite Recruiting Ranking: Five star, #4 overall, #1 QB, #1 in Florida
- Career Stats at Ole Miss
- 2016 Freshmen (3 games)
- Passing: 72/132 – 54.5% – 880 yds – 6 TDs – 3 INTs – 121.0 rating
- Rushing: 41 attempts for 169 yards and 0 TDs
- 2017 Sophomore (7 games)
- Passing: 166/260 – 63.8% – 2259 yds – 17 TDs – 9 INTs – 151.5 rating
- Rushing: 47 attempts for -16 yards and 1 TD
- Total: 10 starts (4-6 record)
- Passing: 238/392 – 60.7% – 3139 yds – 23 TDs – 12 INTs – 141.2 rating
- Rushing: 88 attempts for 153 yards and 1 TD
- 2016 Freshmen (3 games)
— B/R The Future (@BR_TheFuture) December 11, 2017
As for the Rest of the Roster
Patterson will be the 5th scholarship quarterback on the roster, joining redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters, redshirt freshmen Dylan McCaffrey, and incoming true freshmen, Joe Milton and Kevin Doyle. For the first time in years, Michigan will have one of the deepest quarterback rooms in the country, talent wise. It’s unknown who will start in 2018 but the spring and fall camp competitions for the foreseeable future will be one to watch closely.
Here’s what the quarterback room is projected to look like for the 2018 season:
|Class||Name||Starts||Pass Attempts||Pass TDs|
|RS Freshmen||Brandon Peters||4||64||4|
|2018 commit||Joe Milton||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|2018 commit||Kevin Doyle||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As for messing with the QB room, competition never hurt anyone. Michigan needs to improve its quarterback play to compete at the level that Jim Harbaugh’s teams are expected to compete at. I think that’s what Harbaugh wants and it’s what he wants his quarterbacks to want. We’ll see if it ruffles any feathers but I believe all five guys will be on the roster next year and will have one hell of a competition for the starting and backup jobs in 2018.
Photo Credit: Bobby McDuffie/The Sun Herald