Runnin’ Rebels: Latest on Ole Miss Players Potentially Transferring to Michigan

(Insert Anchorman, “Well that escalated quickly” gif)

That pretty much sums up the last two days of Shea Patterson transferring to Michigan rumors as things have gone from campfire smokey to damn near a forest fire worth of smoke. It has gone from Michigan potentially getting Patterson to “how many Ole Miss players will transfer to Michigan?”. That’s how good things are looking for the Wolverines in college football free agency.

And all the hype started with a tweet:

Michigan’s Director of Recruiting and King of the Cryptic Recruiting Tweet, Matt Dudek, dropped the Pac Man gif to get the Michigan masses guessing. Though it wasn’t the easiest cryptic tweet to decipher, it clearly had to do with either being a roll or cleaning up. And it looks like it may be a little bit of both.

Harbaugh and Sons  

Things started to take off thanks to a scoop from The Wolverine Lounge’s Brandon Justice, as he reported that Shea Patterson, along with two of his Ole Miss teammates, junior WR Van Jefferson and redshirt sophomore S Deontay Anderson, will visit Ann Arbor this weekend.

But that visit wasn’t happening soon enough. Jim Harbaugh decided he couldn’t wait for the trio of Rebels to get to Ann Arbor so he jumped in the private jet and made his way down to the always welcoming Oxford, Mississippi to visit with his transfer targets face-to-face.

For those aren’t too familiar with Jefferson or Anderson, both were highly ranked recruits in the 2016 class and both were Freshmen All-Conference performers in their rookie seasons.

Van Jefferson actually was very close to choosing Michigan when he signed his Letter of Intent as a senior in high school. His father, Shawn, is a former Lions wide receiver and WR Coach which meant Van lived in the state for several years, attending Orchard Lakes St. Mary’s for two years before moving to Tennessee, where his dad still coaches the Titans’ wide receivers.

Whether or not Van chooses Michigan, Shawn Jefferson would be a good option if Harbaugh wants to hire a full-time WR’s coach. 

With Jefferson nearly choosing Michigan the first time around (finishing 2nd), it only makes sense that Michigan would be the favorite if a transfer occurred. And that’s exactly what looks to be the case as TMI’s Sam Webb’s source close to the situation is not only feeling confident in Patterson joining Michigan, but Jefferson too ($).

Though extremely young and beat up, the Michigan wide receiver position was underwhelming in 2017, to say the least. So, with so many questions on who will make an impact in 2018, adding a proven talent, like Jefferson, could be a big time move. Not to mention the chemistry he’s already built with Patterson in Oxford.

But it’s still not as big of a position of need as adding depth and playmaking ability at safety. That’s where Deontay Anderson comes into play.

Anderson’s original recruitment was nothing like Jefferson’s, in terms of Michigan being involved. He was a top 50 recruit out of Manvel, Texas that didn’t really give Michigan much of a look during his high school days. However, that admiration (or lack there of) for the Wolverines has completely changed and he looks to be one of the Harbaugh’s biggest wants out of the Oxford, which makes sense with the inconsistent play from the position in 2017.

As a redshirt sophomore in 2018, whichever school he ends up at, he’ll have the chance to make an immediate impact and could do so for 2-3 years. And there’s a very good chance that takes place at Michigan, according to The Wolverine Lounge’s Brandon Justice:

A source in Anderson’s circle told The Wolverine Lounge on Tuesday night that Michigan is “for sure the No. 1 school” for the safety, following a visit from Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday morning.”

Justice also added the scoop that Anderson is planning on making his decision right after his visit to Ann Arbor this weekend. So, barring something big happening, it looks like he’ll end up choosing the Wolverines.

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:

As for another Toledo reporter, the Toledo Blade’s Kyle Rowland is also hearing very positive things:

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.

A Little Confusion

If Michigan were to pull off landing the transfers from the Sons (Patterson, Anderson and Jefferson), it would be huge. But the staff isn’t settling with just those three.

This is where things really started to get crazy, as TMI’s Isaiah Hole was back to report that, according to TMI’s sources, Michigan was also interested in sophomore phenom OT Greg Little ($).

Little is another former five star recruit from the 2016 class (finished as the #3 player overall, one spot ahead of Patterson and two spots behind Rashan Gary) and was a Freshmen All-American last season. But, unlike Patterson, Jefferson and Anderson, Little isn’t a sure-thing to transfer, according to multiple reports.

TMI’s Sam Webb joined Hole with a report on Little, adding in Michigan’s interest and Little going quiet ($).

However, according to Rashan Gary’s mother, that interest is only one sided:

It’s unknown exactly where things stand with Michigan and Greg Little but Gary’s mom is someone to definitely listen to. We’ll see who is right here but it doesn’t hurt anything for Michigan to continue to reach out and pursue the future first round draft pick.

More Runnin’ Rebels 

So, there’s four Ole Miss Rebels that Michigan is checking on. Could there be more? You bet your butt there’s more.

According to The Wolverine’s Andrew Vailliencourt, there are even more players that are interested in Michigan, taking the total to seven Ole Miss players interested in the Wolverines ($):

Sources said Tuesday night that there are four other Ole Miss players that either have interest in Michigan or that Michigan is interested in. They are sophomore offensive lineman Greg Little, freshman defensive back Breon Dixon, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Bryce Mathews and redshirt freshman tight end Jacob Mathis.

Breon Dixon is a freshmen linebacker/defensive back hybrid player that was targeted by Michigan in the 2017 recruiting class. He actually visited the Michigan satellite camp in Atlanta last summer but did not participate. Spending most of his time talking with the different Michigan coaches instead. So, seeing his name pop up on the potential “interest list” is not a surprise.

Neither is the interest in Jacob Mathis, who Michigan was pushing hard for in the 2016 class before he joined Shea Patterson in Oxford. Mathis is a versatile, athletic, hybrid, pass catching tight end that is a similar prospect to 2018 tight end target Tommy Tremble. So, it’s easy to see why the staff is so interested in him, as well. We’ll see if things take off here as, like Van Jefferson, Michigan looked to finish in the top three here when the final decision was made.

The other name listed was Bryce Mathews, the former top300 recruit and four star offensive tackle prospect out of Tennessee. He’s a big boy who would fill a big hole at Michigan thanks to so many questions surrounding the offensive tackle position. But this one will take a lot more recruiting as even though he was offered by Michigan, he didn’t really show much interest in the Wolverines. This is one name to watch moving forward, especially if the staff does indeed land a couple of his teammates.

Michigan is looking to play the college football free agency game better than anyone this year. And it may just workout as at least three Ole Miss players look likely to be Michigan players in 2018. Possibly as soon as this weekend during their visit to Ann Arbor.

If/when this happens, the 30 for 30: “Runnin’ Rebels Pt. Two”, will be a much watch event for all Wolverines fans.

To catch up with the previous news and rumors on Shea Patterson and Michigan, catch up here

Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images