SAN ANTONIO, Texas — This time last year, Shea Patterson was enrolled at Michigan but had no idea if he’d be able to play in 2018.
Fast forward three months and his waiver request was approved by the NCAA, granting the quarterback transfer from the University of Mississippi immediate eligibility.
Soon after, chatter began. Whispers — unfair or not — of Heisman talk started. Even Patterson started thinking about his future.
“I think coming there with the transfer, maybe in my mind I thought it was going to be a one-year deal,” Patterson told MLive on Friday during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl awards ceremony. “To help the team as much as possible and move on.
“I just got there and I enjoyed it so much, when I got to the end I realized how much more it meant to me than just taking off.”
Patterson’s comments came two weeks after he announced publicly that he would return to Michigan in 2019, his senior season, instead of declaring for the NFL draft. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound was eligible, and pondered the idea, even soliciting grades from NFL scouts.
He declined to reveal what they were, but Patterson’s name was absent from most 2019 first-round mock drafts — even after he completed more than 64 percent of his passes for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns, throwing just seven interceptions. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr., did not rank Patterson last month in his top-10 list of available quarterbacks.
“You never know about those guys,” Patterson said. “Nobody really knows. But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘Ya know what, regardless of what grade I am, I’m coming back for one more year.’”
Patterson said Michigan’s 62-39 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 24 played a big factor in his decision. Not only was it the Wolverines’ seventh straight loss to the Buckeyes, but it eliminated them from Big Ten title contention and, effectively, the College Football Playoff.
Both were goals of Patterson when he arrived in Ann Arbor last January. They were big reasons as to why he left Ole Miss in the first place. He wanted to play for something of consequence.
“After the season we had, the hopes and aspirations, I just don’t know,” Patterson said. “That’s not the type of person that I am, to (just leave). Everybody’s different. Devin Bush did what he had to do. I’m sure if I was maybe a top-10 pick, I would have thought about it a little more like Devin Bush.
“That game left a terrible taste in my mouth. I don’t know if I can end like that.”
Patterson said during Peach Bowl week that his primary objective in the offseason is to work on his body, to get faster and stronger. He wants to be explosive out there on the football field — “so I don’t get caught by Wisconsin.”
But there was also the lure of returning for one more full season, something he hasn’t done since his college career began. Patterson played in three games as a true freshman at Ole Miss, then started the first seven in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury.
He played, and started, all 13 games in 2018. He wants one more go-around, to show that he can improve and lead Michigan to a conference championship.
“I wouldn’t want to end it any other way, my senior year at Michigan with those guys,” Patterson said.