Ole Miss

Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson announces decision to transfer. Here’s where he’s headed.

Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson (20) passes against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Patterson announced Monday he’s transferring to Michigan.
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson (20) passes against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. Patterson announced Monday he’s transferring to Michigan. AP

Shea Patterson to Michigan has seemed obvious for a while. Now it appears to be official.

The former five-star recruit and blue chip quarterback announced Monday he plans to transfer to Michigan.

“Thank you to the wonderful people, teammates and coaches at Ole Miss,” Patterson tweeted. “It is a special place and I will always have great memories of my experiences in Oxford. I am now excited to announce my commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at The University of Michigan.

“It’s time to go to work. #GoBlue.”

The Wolverines and Patterson have been connected for a while now, so Monday’s announcement wasn’t exactly a surprise for most who keep up with recruiting.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh — almost infamously now — flew to Oxford last week on a Michigan plane to visit Patterson and safety Deontay Anderson after both players were granted permission to speak with other programs once the NCAA handed down its sanctions. Photos of the Michigan plane at University-Oxford Airport circulated on social media.

Anderson later posted a photo on Snapchat of his meeting with Harbaugh at a local IHOP — which, of course, led to more jokes.

Even ESPN’s College GameDay had fun at Harbaugh’s expense.

Patterson was considered the top quarterback out of high school as a member of Ole Miss’ 2016 signing class. He was originally expected to sit as a true freshman in 2016, but the Rebels burned his redshirt late in the season when starter Chad Kelly was injured. Patterson ended up completing 54.5 percent of his passes for 880 yards and six touchdowns in three games. This year, it was Patterson who was hit by the injury bug, although not before throwing for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games.

It’s still unclear if Patterson will immediately be eligible to play at Michigan. While the second bowl ban opened up an opportunity to play right away for seniors, underclassmen must appeal to the NCAA.

A number of Ole Miss players have announced their intentions to leave the program, but Patterson is the first to release his destination.

The Pattersons may still have a connection to Mississippi. The QB’s younger brother, Nick, played at tight end as a freshman for Biloxi High in 2016. He transferred to St. Stanislaus prior to the 2017 season but was unable to play.

What about Ole Miss?

As for Ole Miss, the Rebels feel like they have a solid backup option in Jordan Ta’amu. The former junior college quarterback performed well in Patterson’s absence this season, completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,682 yards and 11 touchdowns against four interceptions. He also rushed for 165 yards and four scores.

In addition to rising senior Ta’amu, Ole Miss’ depth is thin at best. Other returning QBs listed on Ole Miss’ roster are junior Jason Pellerin, sophomore Grant Restmeyer, redshirt freshman Alex Faniel and former JUCO QB Graham Lindman. Pellerin has also played tight end in college. Restmeyer and Lindman are walk-ons. Faniel was a three-star recruit from Virginia who redshirted in 2017.

According to RebelGrove.com, Ole Miss’ Rivals.com affiliate, the Rebels have 12 commitments in their 2017 signing class without a quarterback pledge.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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