Former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson could be leaving Ole Miss. Here are five schools that could land the big-time gunslinger.
Patterson was a bright spot for parts of two down seasons for Ole Miss. After Chad Kelly suffered a season-ending injury, Patterson took over as a true freshman for the final three games of the year and threw for 880 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions.
He was even more impressive in 2017, with 2,259 yards on 8.69 yards per attempt, 17 touchdowns, and nine picks in seven games, before going out with a season ending injury.
If he leaves Ole Miss, Patterson will use his redshirt for his transfer year, and will have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining. He cannot transfer to an SEC program, like his home state LSU Tigers, or one that Ole Miss plays over the next two years, a list which includes Cal, Memphis, and Texas Tech. With that in mind, here are five distinct options.
Patterson hinted at a possible move to Ann Arbor last week with some interesting Instagram activity, and speculation is heating up now that Ole Miss has given Patterson permission to explore his options. Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton run a pro-style offense that Patterson would fit nicely into, and need a quarterback. However, he will have to sit out a year, and there will be competition for the job, with Brandon Peters impressing in spots this year, and Dylan McCaffrey, a former top quarterback recruit, coming into the fray for the Wolverines after a redshirt year in 2017.
Patterson's three finalists in his recruitment were Ole Miss, LSU, and USC. He may be leaving Ole Miss, and cannot transfer to LSU, but USC remains a distinct possibility. According to 247Sports, his two main recruiters for the Trojans were Clay Helton and Tee Martin, who both remain on staff, for the time being at least. Tee Martin could be a candidate to take over at Tennessee, although that whole coaching search is up in the air after this week's drama. Patterson would fit nicely in the offense that has produced potential top NBA draft pick Sam Darnold. Even if Darnold defies expectations and stays one more year, the job should be open for Patterson in 2019. USC doesn't have an obvious heir apparent at quarterback on the roster or in the upcoming recruiting class.
Ole Miss wasn't the only college football program to land a commitment from Shea Patterson. From 2012-2014, he was set to head to Arizona, before backing off of that pledge and eventually settling on the Rebels. Rich Rodriguez is still at Arizona, and is having a nice bounce back season. The offense with breakout star Khalil Tate, a dual-threat player in every sense of the term, is way different than what Patterson would be comfortable running, but Rich Rod has shown an ability to design offenses around a number of different types of players at quarterback. A talent like Patterson would certainly warrant it. Tate is currently a sophomore.
Mark Richt didn't appear to be in on Shea Patterson while he was at Georgia and Patterson was a top high school recruit, but he seems to be an ideal coaching fit for him. Richt is known as a great coach of quarterbacks, and Patterson could slide right in for Malik Rosier in a few seasons. Rosier is a redshirt junior, and will graduate after one more season with the Hurricanes. Patterson is a Louisiana native, but played his senior year in Florida at IMG Academy.
As with Rich Rodriguez mentioned earlier, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly does a nice job of crafting offenses around his talent. After having a gifted passer in DeShone Kizer, Kelly basically reengineered his attack this year for Brandon Wimbush, who is still a work in progress from the pocket, but a devastating runner. He can work with a variety of types of quarterbacks, and recruited Patterson when he was a high school recruit. Patterson took an unofficial visit to South Bend in September 2014, and saw Notre Dame beat Michigan 31-0.