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Former Michigan great Charles Woodson talks about new Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson. Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News

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Ann Arbor — Charles Woodson, Michigan’s 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, has kept close tabs on the Wolverines over the years, and he likes what he sees for the 2018 season.

In particular, he thinks transfer quarterback Shea Patterson could be a difference-maker.

Patterson transferred to Michigan from Ole Miss last December. He was declared eligible to play this fall by the NCAA late last month. He started 10 games at Ole Miss, including three as a freshman in 2016, but a knee injury cut short his season last fall. He had completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 2,259 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions before the injury.

NFL.com college football writer Chase Goodbread last week listed Patterson No. 3 of 18 candidates for the Heisman Trophy this year.

Woodson has been impressed by what he’s seen.

“I’ve watched clips of him when there were talks of him transferring and then it finally came, so I watched clips of him, and I mean you can see the playmaking ability,” Woodson said Saturday night before the ChadTough Gala. “That’s what excites you about having him back there behind center.

“When things break down, in today’s game, you need somebody that can create, and he’s definitely a guy who can do that. It’s a little premature to say he’s going to be the guy, but he’s exciting and it’s something our offense needs. If he comes in and wins the job, then I believe he’ll be a guy that can take us over the top.”

Patterson, while in Paris with the Michigan team last month, said he thinks the Wolverines have the tools to be a national title contender and pointed to the defense as a top reason why. Defensive coordinator Don Brown developed the Wolverines into the No. 1-ranked defense in 2016 and they ranked No. 3 last season.

More: Woodson: UM not emphasizing Ohio State game enough

Woodson, a cornerback at Michigan, who also played some receiver and returned kicks, was the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. His main focus has been Michigan’s defense through the years, and while he doesn’t know Brown well, he likes what he has produced.

“I know the defense is really, really good behind him. You know I always love seeing that,” said Woodson, before referencing Michigan’s 67-65 triple-overtime win over Illinois in 2010 against Illinois when Rich Rodriguez was coach. “Everybody was happy. Who’s happy about that? It was great to score points, but for me playing defense and that being what I did all my life, to watch the television and see so many points scored on your team was ridiculous.

“I guess a win is a win, but in my mind we had to get back to playing defense, so I’m glad we have that.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/chengelis

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