ESPN’s Luginbill likes Shea Patterson’s ‘gambler mentality’

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Shea Patterson made 10 starts at Ole Miss, including three as a freshman in 2016 when his redshirt was burned. He replaced injured starter Chad Kelly and in his first start led the Rebels from a nine-point deficit with 23 points in the fourth quarter for a 29-28 win over then-No. 8 Texas A&M.

Tom Luginbill started watching Shea Patterson the summer after his sophomore high school season when he was playing football in Louisiana. He then followed him and his career at IMG Academy as a senior and covered two of his games as Ole Miss quarterback.

Luginbill, a recruiting analyst and ESPN sideline reporter, said Patterson has always had a swagger and confidence.

Patterson announced Monday via social media that he will transfer to Michigan where, if the NCAA waives the transfer rule that requires sitting out a season, he will be able to play next fall. He will join a quarterback room that includes redshirt freshman Brandon Peters and freshman Dylan McCaffrey, in addition to early-enrollee freshman Joe Milton.

“He kinda catches your eyes for the same reasons (Oklahoma quarterback) Baker Mayfield does,” Luginbill told The Detroit News Monday. “It’s not about being a 6-2, 6-3 imposing figure, it was more about moxie and confidence and intangible factors. He may be 6-1 on his best days, but he’s a really good athlete.

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“What catches your eye is more how he carries himself. How he plays. That riverboat gambler mentality. You could see why other kids were drawn to him. In his mind, he felt like no matter what the play is, I can make it happen.”

With that approach, Luginbill said, comes two sides. Because of the type of quarterback Patterson is as a guy who extends plays, he also can make mistakes. But he doesn’t dwell on mistakes and moves on.

During his senior year at IMG Academy, Luginbill said he saw Patterson continue to develop. He was the No. 1-rated quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class.

“I think more than anything, he evolved and became more polished,” Luginbill said. “IMG is not like other high schools. You walk into the huddle at IMG and everyone is a Power-5 guy. You’re playing with college-level players. A guy like Shea probably made the guys around him better.”

Luginbill is interested to see how Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will use Patterson in his offense.

“He’s taking a player who is a certain type of player and skill set and a style groomed in a shotgun spread offense, RPO, up-tempo shotgun, a certain style of play,” he said. “He’s never been in any type of offensive system like he’s going to enter at Michigan from a run-game standpoint, from a knowledge-theory standpoint of offense.

“He’s going to learn a lot about the game. It’s going to be fun to see how quickly he’s going to adapt and process and learn. And so is Joe Milton for that matter. He’s really athletic. He brings an aspect they don’t have at Michigan.”

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The way Luginbill sees it, the different types of quarterbacks competing will make them all better.

“That group has gone from a one-dimensional player to an eclectic group,” Luginbill said. “Any time you create an environment of competition, it hones everyone in a sense. You can never have too many quarterbacks. Only one can play, but when you have competition, whoever wins that one will have earned it.”