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ESPN Weighs In On Michigan's Quarterback Battle

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh shouts towards an official during the first quarter of the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Here's what the ESPN analyst thinks of the Wolverines' quarterback competition.

Jim Harbaugh has yet to have elite quarterback play during his time in Ann Arbor. Will that change in 2018?

It needs to. Michigan will enter the season with Big Ten title and College Football Playoff hopes. The Wolverines have to have above-average play from its quarterback to get there.

Harbaugh's program is in position for that to happen, too. The Wolverines landed the transfer of the season a month ago when former five-star recruit Shea Patterson transferred to Michigan.

His eligibility is a question, though. Patterson will need to get a waiver from the NCAA to play right away. Most believe that will happen, but it's not a given.

Harbaugh isn't pencilling in Patterson as the starter, either. He still speaks highly of Brandon Peters and former four-star recruit Dylan McCaffrey will be involved in the competition, too.

ESPN has weighed in on the Wolverines' impending competition. Here's what college football writer Adam Rittenberg thinks:

The candidates: Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey, Shea Patterson*

Returning starter: Peters (part time)

What to watch: The asterisk next to Patterson is the great unknown, as the Ole Miss transfer seeks NCAA approval to play for Michigan right away. Michigan desperately needs options at quarterback, even if Peters, who showed some good things in 2017, elevates his game significantly for spring practice. McCaffrey is an exciting prospect but young and undersized. Patterson showed at Ole Miss he can pile up yards but also struggled with interceptions (nine in seven games last fall), a big issue for Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff need to feel confident about someone coming out of the spring before a pivotal fourth season.

You never know with Harbaugh, but if Patterson is eligible, it'd be a major shock if he's not the guy. He's the clear favorite here. Michigan's College Football Playoff hopes probably rest on his eligibility, too.