The Wolverine

June July 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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22 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2018 BY JOHN BORTON T he snap heard around the Big Ten involved a key piece clicking into place for the winningest team the league has ever known. Junior quarterback Shea Patterson officially became eligible for the 2018 season in late April, with the NCAA approving a waiver to the rule calling for a year on the sideline by transfer- ring athletes. Patterson arrived from Ole Miss, now on NCAA probation for rules violations. It's a massive plus for head coach Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines, making available a mobile, accurate- throwing quarterback coming off two years of rugged Southeastern Conference competition. Patterson needs to continue bat- tling like he did in spring practice to win the starting job. But even some major Harbaugh detractors labeled the QB in a winged helmet a win for Michigan. "Jim Harbaugh just poached one of the SEC's best QBs in Shea Patter- son," ESPN's Paul Finebaum tweeted last December, when Patterson made the move. "If the NCAA allows him to play in 2018, the Wolverines be- come a title contender." Some urged a not-so-fast approach, in the wake of Patterson's eligibility confirmation. Even they recognize the addition of an experienced, tal- ented quarterback can't be ignored. "Patterson's a great piece, and maybe he counts for more than one," Nick Baumgardner wrote in an ar- ticle that appeared in The Detroit Free Press, cautioning against excessive hype. "But he can't complete this puzzle alone." Patterson put up some impressive numbers in his first two years at Mis- sissippi, throwing for 3,139 yards. As a sophomore, he completed 166 of 260 passes (63.8 percent) for 2,259 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven games. While not a huge rushing threat (153 yards in two seasons), Patterson buys time and extends plays via his ability to move in and out of the pocket. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit noted the only thing holding back Harbaugh teams from winning big- ger than they have in his first three years back in Ann Arbor is a top- flight quarterback. "Once they're recruiting the quar- terbacks and the receivers and the skill, it will be there," Herbstreit said. "Michigan will be fine. But he's got to get a quarterback to get him to the next level. Shea would give him that instantly." Harbaugh remains all about com- petition, and nobody has to tell him not to overhype one of his QBs. The head coach took a very level ap- Not Standing Pat Shea Patterson's Eligibility Is A Huge Gain For U-M Patterson, who participated in winter conditioning and spring ball with the Wolverines, is the third quarterback to transfer to U-M during head coach Jim Harbaugh's three-plus years in Ann Arbor. PHOTO BY CHRIS BALAS

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