What Led to Shea Patterson's Decision to Come to Michigan

What Led to Shea Patterson's Decision to Come to Michigan

Football

What Led to Shea Patterson's Decision to Come to Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich — Back in December, former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson made good on his public decision to transfer from the Rebels in the wake of the Hugh Freeze mess, and sought out his next program.

And he found himself on a wintry day in December, taking in a Michigan basketball game in Crisler Center, as the Wolverines came back and snatched victory away from a talented UCLA team that was rolling most of that Saturday afternoon.

While that might have helped sell the Toledo (OH) native who grew up cheering on the maize and blue, his courtship to Ann Arbor started just before that, when Jim Harbaugh met with him down in Oxford, and espoused the virtues of the Michigan program.

Despite the conjecture that Harbaugh was selling immediate playing time to the player who was a former five-star and was once the top-rated quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class, that wasn’t the case. According to Patterson, Harbaugh told him that the starting job wasn’t going to be handed to him.

Nope. In fact, despite passing for 3,000-plus yards in ten games, Patterson was going to have to earn it.

“I was getting ready to make that move – Coach Harbaugh had that visit with me,” Patterson said. “Just looking at him, and he told me the opportunity that we had. And didn’t promise me anything – that’s the cool thing about Coach Harbaugh. He’s never going to lie to you. He’s always going to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. And he told me, ‘You’re going to have to come in here and compete. We’ve got some guys in the quarterback room that are good, very good.’ But you know, he said, ‘We’ve got an awesome defense and a complete team.’

“I was excited to come in here and work and try to get that job and do my part.”

That Michigan defense was key in Patterson’s decision making.

The Wolverines, despite replacing ten starters on that side of the ball heading into 2017, fielded the nation’s third-best defense, and showed that it could hold off nearly any team on the schedule. While at Ole Miss, Patterson had to do it all, considering that the Rebels had the nation’s 116th-rated defensive attack.

Now that he’s in Ann Arbor, that’s not the case. Patterson has to manage the offense, but he doesn’t have to be the offense. And, despite having talent that’s got certain pundits putting him on Heisman Trophy watchlists, joining such a well-rounded team as Michigan could be, it was precisely what Patterson was looking for.

“That was the one mindset I had coming in,” Patterson said. “You’ve got a championship caliber defense. Just come in and do your job, and you’ve got great players on offense around you. Great coaching staff. Just go out there and be yourself.

“But I understand the shoes that I’ve got to fill. There’s so many great quarterbacks that have come through here. I’m just humble, humble to be the guy. I’m just going to go out there and give it everything that I’ve got every single play.”

Patterson will get his first shot on Sept. 1, when Michigan travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame, with a set 7:30PM kickoff.

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