I apologize for the lateness of this post. We (as in the place where I coach) opened our season last week, so as you can imagine, things are pretty hectic.
Name: Shea Patterson
Weight: 202 lbs.
High school: Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy
Jersey number: #2
Last year: I ranked Patterson #1 and said he would be the starting quarterback with 3,100 yards passing, 23 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions (LINK). He was 210/325 (64.6%) for 2,600 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions; he also ran 76 times for 273 yards (2.6 YPC) and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating: N/A
Patterson came to Michigan at just the right time in the 2017-2018 off-season. After a 2017 season in which all the quarterbacks – Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, and Brandon Peters – struggled, the position was in flux. Speight was leaving, O’Korn was graduating, Peters had struggled, Dylan McCaffrey didn’t seem ready, and incoming freshman Joe Milton was thought to be very raw. Without Patterson transferring in, there’s no telling how hot Jim Harbaugh’s seat would be right now. In an alternate universe, does he land a grad transfer? Does McCaffrey start and avoid breaking his collarbone? It could have been ugly.
But it wasn’t. Patterson stabilized the position, even if he wasn’t an All-American. His 22-to-7 TD-to-INT rate was solid, and he made the throws that were there to make. Unlike Speight and O’Korn, he completed deep throws, even if he sometimes left them a little short and gave defenders a chance to tackle after the catch. It has been several years since Michigan had a quarterback who threw a consistent deep ball, probably going all the way back to Chad Henne . . . and he struggled to take anything off the short stuff.
Patterson also managed to run some zone read stuff with aplomb, making several key plays on keepers; that included an 81-yard run against the Wisconsin Badgers and some big chain-movers against Northwestern, among others. Michigan has been blessed with decent-to-great runners at quarterback over the last decade (Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner, Jake Rudock, Patterson), but Patterson might be the best passer of them all.
Going into the 2019 season, Michigan needs Patterson to be healthy and at the top of his game. The running back position has question marks, and so does the defense. The receivers, though, when they’re healthy, are some of the best players at their positions in the country. If Michigan plans to beat Ohio State and make a run at the College Football Playoff, they need Patterson, his accuracy, and his leadership to get the ball where it needs to go in this offense. As hyped as McCaffrey is, we have yet to see him show the ability to sit in the pocket and pick apart a competent defense, even for a short stint. Michigan could still be decent without Patterson, but the games against Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and of course OSU would become much more difficult.
Prediction: Starting quarterback; 3200 yards, 27 touchdowns, 8 interceptions