ANN ARBOR — Multiple sources have indicated to The Blade that Michigan is the front-runner to land the services of former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson.
Patterson, a Toledo native, will visit Michigan on Saturday, along with fellow Ole Miss teammates wide receiver Van Jefferson and safety Deontay Anderson.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was in Oxford, Miss., on Tuesday to meet with the trio.
Patterson, a sophomore, expects to be eligible to play immediately and would have two seasons of eligibility remaining. Currently, players who will be seniors next season at Ole Miss can transfer and not sit out one season, which is required by NCAA rules. But due to NCAA infractions committed by Ole Miss and the subsequent penalties handed down by the ruling body — no bowl game in 2018 and scholarship reductions, among other sanctions — the NCAA is allowing seniors-to-be to transfer without the usual one-year absence.
There is growing backlash from the general public and media regarding the players having to sit out. In 2012, when Penn State was hit with crippling sanctions, all of its players were able to transfer and not sit out a year.
Patterson, the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the country in 2016, grew up in Toledo before moving to the south. He completed 64 percent of his passes this season for 2,259 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions before a season-ending knee injury in the seventh game.
His arrival could solidify a murky quarterback position for Michigan. Wilton Speight announced his transfer last week, Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey are still unknowns. Peters, a redshirt freshman, started three games and was 37-of-64 for 486 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. McCaffrey, a true freshman, is redshirting this season.
With Speight, Peters, and John O’Korn splitting quarterback duties this season, Michigan has the 112th-ranked passing offense, averaging a meager 25 completions for 168.6 yards per game.
An underrated factor is the possibility of Jefferson and Anderson following Patterson to Michigan. Both could be immediate impact players on offense and defense. Jefferson has 91 catches for 999 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons of play, while Anderson had 32 tackles and an interception last season but redshirted this past season.
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