ANN ARBOR — There will be no suspense in South Bend surrounding Michigan’s quarterback competition.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh announced Monday at the M Club of Ann Arbor Luncheon that Shea Patterson will be Michigan’s starting quarterback Sept. 1 at No. 12 Notre Dame.
The decision to start Patterson is no surprise — he’s been the front-runner since he was granted immediate eligibility at Michigan this spring — but Harbaugh’s decision to make it public is a reversal of years past. This is the first time in his four seasons at Michigan the Wolverines enter the season with no mystery around the quarterback position.
The Toledo-born Patterson, a junior transfer from Mississippi, started 10 games in two seasons, throwing for 3,139 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He completed 64 percent of his passes last season before an October knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Patterson had 2,259 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions in 2017 while also rushing for a touchdown.
He was competing this fall against redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters, redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey, true freshman Joe Milton, and graduate transfer Jeff George, Jr.
“He’s a competitor,” Harbaugh told reporters last week. “He’s really having a grasp of the offense.”
The Wolverines finished 8-5, went 5-4 in the Big Ten, and lost the Outback Bowl last season, and the lack of a passing offense largely was to blame. Michigan quarterbacks Peters, Wilton Speight, and John O’Korn combined to throw nine touchdown passes while tossing 10 interceptions, and the 171.2 passing yards per game for the team was 110th in the country.
Patterson was a five-star prospect coming out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., when he picked Ole Miss. He started three games as a true freshman and seven last year before his season-ending injury, then chose to transfer to Michigan after the NCAA extended the Rebels’ bowl ban into this season.
Michigan is ranked 14th in the Associated Press poll released Monday.
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