ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Former No. 1 quarterback recruit Shea Patterson will be immediately eligible to play for the Michigan football team this season after transferring from Ole Miss, the schools announced Friday.
Patterson was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the 2016 class, and the No. 4 player in the nation overall.
After two years at the University of Mississippi, Patterson decided to leave the school due to sanctions that made the Rebels ineligible for postseason play for two seasons. Since Patterson could have played in a bowl game his senior year, he had to apply for immediate eligibility with the NCAA.
After long discussions involving Michigan, Ole Miss and the NCAA, Patterson was officially ruled eligible Friday. Here's the full joint statement from the schools:
"The NCAA Division I Council recently approved an amendment to transfer waiver guidelines for student-athletes seeking immediate eligibility following a transfer. This amendment was effective April 18, for transferring student-athletes who are seeking immediate eligibility for the 2018-19 academic year.
"Following notification of this change, the University of Mississippi promptly reached out to the University of Michigan, to discuss how these new standards could impact the University of Mississippi’s support of a transfer student-athlete’s desire to compete immediately at the University of Michigan. The University of Mississippi and the University of Michigan have worked together over the last several days in conjunction with the NCAA national office staff, and with a focus on the best interest of the student-athlete, to put forward a new waiver application. That new application was submitted this week by the University of Michigan and supported by both schools. The University of Michigan has withdrawn its previous waiver application and all associated materials in favor of this new, cooperative approach based on facts which all parties agree to. The waiver has now been approved by the NCAA and thus football student-athlete Shea Patterson will be eligible to compete in the 2018-19 academic year.
"Both schools are ready to move forward and appreciate the assistance of the NCAA staff in bringing this matter to a resolution. While the process has been complex at times, the solution was simple - two flagship universities and the NCAA staff working together with a focus on student-athlete well-being."
Ole Miss players were given the freedom to transfer anywhere in the nation after the school was hit with heavy sanctions for violations under former head coach Hugh Freeze.
Here is a statement from Patterson:
"There are a lot of people who worked really hard to help make this transfer process a success. I want to thank Coach Harbaugh, the University of Michigan and the NCAA for allowing me to continue my education and football career at one of the best universities in the country.
"A special thanks to Michigan’s Compliance Staff and to Tom Mars for his personal guidance for me and my family during this time. With this decision behind us, my family and I are fully focused on the upcoming season. My teammates and I are always committed to competing at the highest level and winning championships. Go Blue!"
Michigan quarterback outlook
Patterson joins quarterbacks Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey on Michigan's roster, along with newcomer Joe Milton. Patterson will likely battle Peters and McCaffrey for the starting job.
In 10 games across two seasons at Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 3,139 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also ran for 169 yards in three games as a true freshman.
Michigan opens the 2018 season with a tough road game at Notre Dame, which finished 9-3 last season.
Quarterback was a weakness for Michigan throughout 2017, with returning starter Wilton Speight and backup John O'Korn battling turnover and accuracy issues.
Peters was a calming force when he took over the starting role, throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions, but the coaching staff was cautious with him in the passing game. Patterson will give the Wolverines another talented option to compete and improve the most important position on the field.
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