It's early December and Michigan fans are more excited than they have been at this time in recent years.
Not because of the upcoming bowl game, but because former five-star and current Ole Miss transfer quarterback Shea Patterson is coming to Ann Arbor for a visit. Along with Patterson, two other Ole Miss players seeking a transfer — safety Deontay Anderson and wide receiver Van Jefferson — are visiting and expected to attend the Michigan-UCLA basketball game tomorrow.
It’s being reported and circulating around message boards that Patterson is very serious about Michigan and could be making his decision soon. Adding him in the mix of young quarterbacks would immediately upgrade a struggling offense with added depth for Jim Harbaugh and his staff to make 2018 a potential season fans have been wanting since he arrived. Fans should be thrilled to have this opportunity to add a talented quarterback like Patterson, but it doesn't necessarily mean he wins the job or is eligible immediately, so pump the brakes folks, because it’s only December.
While adding Patterson doesn't automatically give the Wolverines more wins on the schedule, it will allow that group to push each other and compete for that starting job at South Bend under the lights on Sept. 1. Not a bad environment to start the season for Peters or Patterson.
Special Edition Roundtable
Several national analysts, writers and radio personalities shared their overall thoughts on Patterson with Maize n Brew this week. They commented on his overall talent, what the current situation at Michigan offers and why he can succeed in the Big Ten.
Josh Liskiewitz — Pro Football Focus
“I think he'd be a difference maker.”
He also commented that he would come in with tough competition alongside Brandon Peters in the fall. “I definitely wouldn't count Peters out though, just because Patterson may be in the fold. He'll have a big advantage going into the spring obviously with having played in a system that asks a lot from its QBs.”
He added what Patterson would have to focus on and develop there.
“Accuracy outside the numbers and recognizing zone coverage underneath are the two main things for him to work on. On 10+ yard throws this year he completed just 15-of-46 outside the numbers, and just 4-of-25 on 20+ yard throws. 6 of his 9 INTs were between the numbers and 0-20 yards through the air.”
Bill King — Radio host on “The Bill King Show” with WNSR in Nashville, TN
“Oh Lord, yes. Dynamic play-maker. He is not a lock to start and has flaws just like every quarterback. He’s so confident it leads to some recklessness, but I don’t mind aggressive mistakes.”
Bill Bender — National college football writer with The Sporting News
Bill wrote about why this opportunity makes perfect sense. He shared with us why he not only likes his chances of winning the job, but also how it gives Michigan a great chance at a huge 2018 season.
“Patterson is a five-star quarterback with play-making ability who has 3,139 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over 10 games the past two seasons. Michigan quarterbacks Wilton Speight, John O'Korn and Brandon Peters combine for 2,023 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. Patterson is an upgrade at the position.”
He also added why his arrival would add depth, competition and development at the quarterback position with a higher chance of winning big games they lost the last few years.
“Patterson fits that description, especially when you consider Michigan will be a much more experienced team in 2018.
“It's about which quarterback gives Michigan the best chance to win in a prove-it year that features road games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State, along with home showdowns against Wisconsin, Nebraska and Penn State.”
You can read Bill’s full story here.
JC Shurburtt — Former National Recruiting Director at 247Sports, College football/recruiting analyst at Shurbnation.net
“Yeah he’s a game-changer. Great passer good in the pocket.”
Shurburtt feels confident that with no health issues, he would be tough to beat for that starting job against Notre Dame.
“If Patterson is healthy I can’t see Peters beating him out.”
Phil Steele — ESPN insider and college football analyst
Phil may have more college football games on simultaneously than anyone in America. Just look up his photos posted and you will agree. He's generated the most accurate preseason college football magazine for the last 19 consecutive years. He commented on why the addition of Patterson would make a huge impact on the offense.
“That would be a huge pick up. The biggest weakness right now on Michigan is QB and Patterson has won some big games, is mobile and throws well. Picking him up, Michigan will be one of the favorites to win the Big Ten next year.”
Sept. 1 is still a long ways away, and the team still has a bowl game to prepare for, but the fact is the outcome of this developing story may give Michigan fans plenty to be excited about. It's still unknown if Patterson will even be eligible immediately. Unless something unforeseen happens this weekend, Michigan fans may get some very exciting news to celebrate, which will add yet another level of excitement for the 2018 season.
Watch some of his Ole Miss highlights below.