ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan suddenly has more options for 2018.
Yahoo.com reported Tuesday that Mississippi has removed transfer restrictions on its players, four days after the NCAA levied sanctions against the Rebels football program.
Now, Mississippi’s players can transfer without penalty. That means Michigan and other college football programs can pursue Mississippi’s players as additions to the 2018 roster. The Wolverines can and will add experienced players to their roster by way of transfers, and bringing experienced players to Michigan will only boost its depth as it prepares for next season — and for a potential run at the 2018 College Football Playoff.
Among those pursuits? Quarterback Shea Patterson. Patterson, wide receiver Van Jefferson and safety Deontay Anderson are expected to visit Michigan this weekend. Anderson met Tuesday in Mississippi with third-year coach Jim Harbaugh, and Michigan is reportedly on top of Patterson’s wish list.
Neither Patterson nor Jefferson has commented publicly on the sanctions, on their pursuit of a transfer or on Ole Miss’ decision to remove transfer limitations. It was reported Anderson would seek a full transfer release on the grounds of allegedly being misled about the NCAA investigation into the Rebels football program.
What Shea Patterson would bring
The addition of Patterson would give Michigan an experienced quarterback while developing four young quarterbacks: redshirt freshman Brandon Peters, freshman Dylan McCaffrey (who will redshirt this season), and incoming freshmen Joe Milton and Kevin Doyle. Peters is the only returning quarterback with any substantial experience (37-for-64 passing, 486 yards, 4 touchdown passes in five games).
Patterson is mobile, athletic and accurate, and he is capable of making big plays. He averaged 13.6 yards per pass in seven games this season with the Rebels and averaged 313.9 yards passing in 10 games over the last two seasons at Ole Miss. He passed for at least 350 yards in five of his seven starts with the Rebels, but he missed the final five games of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.
Patterson was 247Sports’ No. 1 quarterback prospect in 2016 as a senior at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and has two connections to Michigan: his family held season tickets to the Wolverines, and offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz was his teammate at IMG.
What Van Jefferson would bring
Jefferson is a former SEC All-Freshman selection who caught 42 passes for 456 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt sophomore and as Ole Miss’ No. 2 receiver.
If Jefferson joins the Wolverines, he would bring a seasoned presence to Michigan’s receivers, a position group that returns the bulk of its players but didn’t have a lot of productivity in 2017.
Michigan threw for 2,023 yards in 2017, but of Michigan’s eight wide receivers with catches this season, only junior Grant Perry gained more than 300 yards.
What Deontay Anderson would bring
If Anderson joins the Wolverines, he would add further stability to the nation’s No. 1 pass defense (142.7 yards), but he would have to compete against Josh Metellus and Tyree Kinnel for a starting spot.
Anderson redshirted in 2017, but he played primarily at rover as a freshman in 2016, finishing with 32 tackles, 1½ tackles for loss and an interception.