Michigan football fans are excited about the return of Shea Patterson for 2019. Yet, there is also some concern it could cause Joe Milton to transfer.
Most fans were happy of course because Patterson has been one of the most successful quarterbacks in the recent history of Michigan football. A win in the Peach Bowl would give him his 11th win as a starter this season. The last two guys to do that were Denard Robinson and Chad Henne.
Point being it has been a long time. So Patterson’s return for 2019 was welcome news, however, it does raise some concerns, particularly about the future of fellow quarterbacks Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton.
Both McCaffrey and Milton were highly-touted, four-star recruits. McCaffrey was the backup this season until he was injured. Then, Milton competed for the job with Brandon Peters and in some ways, both Milton and McCaffrey share the title of a quarterback of the future. But with Patterson staying, Milton might be waiting three years to be the starter and does he really want to do that?
While writing the story of your life, don’t let no one else hold the pen
— Joe milton #5 (@Qbjayy7) December 22, 2018
The tweet shown above was posted by Milton the day after Patterson announced his decision and it’s a little cryptic. It reminded me a little of some of the philosophical postings of Aubrey Solomon before he bolted from Michigan football.
Obviously, one tweet doesn’t mean he is close to transferring, but you can bet he is thinking about his future and if he can’t beat out McCaffrey, he might be waiting in the wings for a long time.
Considering Patterson will likely be the starting quarterback in 2019, that’s one year Milton would have to wait. Since he played fewer than four games, 2018 would be his redshirt season and so next year, he would be a redshirt freshman.
So, by the time Patterson left, you’d likely have McCaffrey, a redshirt junior by 2020, competing against Milton, a redshirt sophomore for the starting gig. That’s not a bad thing for Michigan, but you really have to wonder if the loser of that battle will stay?
In terms of Milton’s tweet, I am hoping it just means that he won’t let Patterson’s announcement deter him from trying to be the starter next season. That should be his attitude and with his throwing ability, he shouldn’t take a backseat to anyone.
If Milton does indeed prove himself to be the best quarterback next season, Jim Harbaugh would play him. I believe that. But I also don’t believe Milton will improve that much by next season. It’s entirely possible and maybe his tweet is more motivational than anything.
However, the timing is a little curious. Maybe Milton came to Michigan believing Patterson would stay just one year. If that’s the case, he probably expected to be a serious contender for the job next season instead of a dark horse behind Patterson and McCaffrey.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but if Michigan football wants both McCaffrey and Milton to play out their careers with the Wolverines, Harbaugh and the staff will have to manage the situation perfectly, which is easier said than done.