WHO IS SHEA PATTERSON?
For those of you hardcore followers of Michigan (and Michigan recruiting), you may have heard in recent weeks some rumblings about Shea Patterson. Patterson is a sophomore quarterback for Ole Miss, but Ole Miss’s recent sanctions from the NCAA – a bowl ban through the 2018 season and some scholarship reductions – may open a door for him to transfer. Over the past two seasons, he completed 238/392 passes (60.7%) for 3,139 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions as a part-time starter. His 2017 season was shortened by a torn knee ligament, but he should be ready to play in 2018.
Patterson has family in the Toledo area and his grandfather, George Patterson, played for the Detroit Pistons. He was offered by Michigan as a part of the 2016 recruiting class, but he was committed to Arizona at one point and eventually flipped to Ole Miss. He was a 5-star, the #1 pro-style quarterback, and #4 overall in his recruiting class. He attended high school in Louisiana before spending his senior year at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. For a kid just finishing his sophomore season, he has been all over the map in the last few years with his living situation and allegiances – Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi.
Hit the jump for further thoughts on Patterson.
WHAT’S PATTERSON’S SITUATION?
Patterson is not eligible to play immediately for another school because the bowl ban does not span the remainder of his eligibility, but some players at Ole Miss are retaining lawyers to attempt to escape Oxford and get immediate eligibility. According to Sam Webb, Michigan and other schools are trying to figure out if there are any loopholes or exceptions to get Patterson on campus. (Full disclosure: Rivals was the first to report Patterson’s interest in Michigan, an idea that was pooh-poohed by Webb until the last 24 hours.)
WHAT’S MICHIGAN’S SITUATION?
Michigan has no established starter going into 2018. Redshirt junior Wilton Speight and redshirt sophomore Alex Malzone are both taking graduate transfers to play elsewhere, and John O’Korn is graduating. That leaves 2017’s best quarterback (redshirt freshman Brandon Peters), a true freshman with zero college experience (Dylan McCaffrey), and incoming freshmen Joe Milton and Kevin Doyle as the only scholarship quarterbacks for 2018. It’s a talented but very inexperienced group. Peters threw 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in limited time during the 2017 regular season, but he’ll be the only returning player who has attempted a pass.
WOULD PATTERSON FIT AT MICHIGAN?
I don’t think there’s any question that Patterson could play at Michigan. He’s a pro-style guy who has proven to be a competent quarterback at a Power 5 program. He can also run a little bit – he averaged 4.1 yards/carry this season. Realistically, he could probably come in and be the favorite to start for the Wolverines in 2018. The bigger question is whether he would chase away any of Michigan’s other talent. Despite Jim Harbaugh’s continued insistence that every position is an open competition, some of the younger guys may get frustrated that Harbaugh continually brings in older and/or more experienced guys (Jake Rudock in 2015, John O’Korn for 2016-2017, and potentially Patterson in 2018-2019). Would it be worth potentially chasing away your next phase of quarterbacks just to rent a guy for one or two seasons? Personally, I think Michigan should take Patterson if they can get him, but I believe the team would lose at least one quarterback if that were to happen.
Here’s what I wrote about Patterson in February of 2015, when I ranked him #2 in my scouting of quarterbacks of 2016 (LINK):
2. Shea Patterson – QB – Shreveport (LA) Calvary Baptist: Patterson is a 6’2″, 195 lb. prospect who’s a 247 Composite 5-star, the #3 pro-style quarterback, and #18 overall. He has offers from Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, and Texas, Texas A&M, and USC, among others. As a junior in 2014, he completed 129/199 passes for 2,428 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Right off the bat, I get a Johnny Manziel type of vibe from Patterson when watching his film. He has somewhat of a nondescript frame, and neither his speed or his arm strength jump off the screen. However, he is someone who seems to be good at just about everything. The most impressive thing about him is his pocket awareness, ability to move within the pocket, and ability to find throwing lanes. He also shows nice touch on some deep throws. He can be careless with the football, carrying it one-handed when scrambling and dropping it to waist level, and those habits will eventually lead to fumbles if not corrected. Manziel did the same thing and got himself a Heisman trophy, so it’s not a death knell for a quarterback’s career. Patterson is not the quickest decision maker of this group, but he does seem to have a good grasp of what the defense is doing and finds his receiver fairly quickly. Mechanically, Patterson does a good job with his footwork getting himself ready to throw, and other than dropping his throwing hand when scrambling, he is pretty polished. Patterson runs a shotgun passing spread offense that does not see him dropping back from under center, which may be a significant adjustment if he goes into a pro-style offense in college.
For what it’s worth, Jacob Eason was ranked #1 in my evaluations, and there have also been rumblings that Eason might be looking at coming to Michigan. Those rumors aren’t quite as prevalent, however.
Here’s a full game of Patterson playing QB earlier this season:
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