The transfer commitment last week of Shea Patterson from Ole Miss to Michigan has created a wave of excitement AND consternation across not only the Michigan fanbase but from College Football pundits all across the US. Many of the comments I saw varied from “Patterson to UM makes them a legitimate CFP contender in 2018…” to “What is Harbaugh doing bringing in another transfer, he’s going to scare recruits away…” to “His stats are average, what’s the big deal…”. Let’s take a look at each of these statements and see if we can determine how it impacts the team in 2018 and beyond.
“Patterson to UM makes them a legitimate CFP contender in 2018…” MOST of the analysis I’ve seen (including Harbaugh/UM troll Paul Finebaum) has been clear that this transfer, assuming he is granted an NCAA waiver to play right away, makes Michigan a legitimate contender for not only the BIG but for the playoffs in 2018. Patterson was a five-star QB in the 2016 class (overall #3 behind Rashan Gary at #1) and was the top-rated QB overall. He brings experience, athleticism, and an arm that according to scouts can make “all the NFL throws”. Michigan under-performed at the QB position all season with a top-ten defense carrying them to an 8-4 record with the youngest team in the nation. Adding a QB of this caliber with the ability to stretch the field will force teams to not focus on our running game only and open the field up.
“What is Harbaugh doing bringing in another transfer, he’s going to scare recruits away…” – Anyone who has listened to Harbaugh throughout his years of coaching knows that he believes in a “Meritocracy” when it comes to playing time so anyone who has been recruited by him KNOWS they will have to battle for playing time. Those are the type of players he wants on his football team. If players transfer because of this than he doesn’t want them there in the first place. His players frequently use the “Iron sharpens iron” when they talk about the battle for playing time. 2018 QB Commit Joe Milton has already stated that this changes nothing in his commitment and he relishes the chance to compete against the best. As much as I dislike the man, Nick Saban promotes the same thing at Alabama and that seems to work out pretty well.
“His stats are average, what’s the big deal…” – I actually thought the same thing initially so I did a bit of research and here are Patterson’s stats compared with another recent transfer who I will name after:
QB Transfer (based on 8 games): 64.1% completion rate, 2,315 yards, 12 TD’s and 9 Interceptions
Patterson (based on 10 games): 60.7% completion rate, 3,139 yards, 23 TD’s and 12 Interceptions
The QB Transfer referenced above whose stats we’re using is your current Heisman Trophy Winner, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma who transferred from Texas Tech after his Freshman year. His stats were compiled in the pass-happy Big 12 while Patterson’s were in the rugged SEC. Do I expect Patterson to be the next Baker Mayfield? Maybe, who knows? They have VERY similar attributes in how they work in the pocket and the ability to improvise and scramble.
Let’s face it, he wasn’t the top-rated QB in the recruiting cycle of 2016 for nothing. The kid has massive upside and with a coach like Harbaugh who coached up Ruddock and Speight, my expectations are very high. I would love to hear what you think.