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Quarterback Shea Patterson has become one of the top preseason contenders to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy after transferring to Michigan from Mississippi.

Shea Patterson has legitimate Heisman hopes if Michigan rises to expectations

Kevin Goheen

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Do you think Shea Patterson has a realistic chance at winning the Heisman? — Tremelle King via Facebook

Junior quarterback Shea Patterson’s transfer to Michigan from Mississippi — followed by the NCAA’s decision to grant him immediate eligibility — has been one of the biggest stories in college football this offseason. The former 5-star recruit threw for 3,139 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games over two seasons at Ole Miss.

The combination of Patterson and coach Jim Harbaugh gives Michigan a legitimate chance to produce the program’s fourth Heisman Trophy.

No Michigan player has won the award as college football’s top player since Charles Woodson beat Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf and Randy Moss in 1997. Running back Chris Perry finished fourth in the 2003 balloting, the highest placing by a Wolverine since Woodson’s victory. Jabrill Peppers was the last Wolverines finalist, finishing fifth in 2016.

Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas lists Patterson’s Heisman odds at 20-1. Stanford senior running back Bryce Love, who was second last year to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, is the early favorite at 5-1, followed by Wisconsin sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor at 7-1. Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was given 10-1 odds. Patterson is in a group of nine players with 20-1 odds. has Patterson as its No. 3 Heisman candidate.

Patterson has a few factors working for him. Playing quarterback tops that list. It’s the most influential position on the field, and Michigan’s past quarterback struggles will put more focus on Patterson. The Wolverines play one of the most demanding schedules in the country starting at Notre Dame on Sept. 1. They also have road games against Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State to go along with facing Penn State and Wisconsin at home.

Michigan will have high exposure nationally, even more than usual. The better Patterson plays, the more voters he’ll attract. Michigan has expectations of winning the Big Ten East title and playing in the Big Ten championship game for the first time during coach Jim Harbaugh’s tenure.

If the Wolverines reach those goals, Patterson is going to be big reason and he’s going to be in the Heisman talk.

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