Michigan Wolverines lineman played with the quarterback at IMG Academy. Angelique S. Chengelis
Ann Arbor — Quarterback Shea Patterson and Michigan freshman offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz go way back. Well, back to Patterson's senior year at IMG Academy.
With their background together, Ruiz became the obvious choice to host a trio of potential Ole Miss football transfers, including Patterson, this weekend. Patterson, the No. 1 quarterback in the 2016 class, Deontay Anderson, a safety, and receiver Van Jefferson arrived in Ann Arbor Friday night and attended Michigan’s 78-69 overtime victory over UCLA Saturday afternoon at the Crisler Center.
Patterson could not speak onsite to media because transfers fall under NCAA recruiting rules.
Ruiz said he doesn’t know if Patterson will decide to transfer to Michigan.
“That’s what we’re hoping for, right?” Ruiz said Saturday after the game as he left with a number of teammates.
He was asked if he’s worked on convincing Patterson to join the program.
“That’s my job, right?” he said. “That’s my boy from high school, man.”
More:ESPN analyst: Shea Patterson would excel at Michigan
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh attended the game along with defensive coordinator Don Brown, offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, pass-game coordinator Pep Hamilton, running backs coach Jay Harbaugh, offensive tackles/tight ends coach Greg Frey and defensive backs coach Mike Zordich.
The player arrivals at the basketball game were highly anticipated, particularly Patterson's. If they are all eligible to play next fall, he would compete this spring for the starting job with redshirt freshman Brandon Peters and freshman Dylan McCaffrey.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was in Oxford, Miss., earlier in the week and reportedly met with the three players who are exploring transfer options in light of Ole Miss’ latest NCAA sanctions that include missing another bowl next season.
Patterson played in seven games at Ole Miss this fall before suffering a posterior cruciate ligament injury. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound sophomore completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 2,259 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Ruiz, rated the No. 1 center coming out of high school, said Patterson does “a lot well” and can throw and run the ball effectively. He said he’d be a good fit at Michigan.
“I think he’d be a good fit in anybody’s program,” Ruiz said. “He a great quarterback.”
Patterson is a “cool dude” according to Ruiz and easy to get along with. He also described him as a “funny, goofy dude.” Patterson did tell The Detroit News he was having a good time on his visit.
Ruiz has enjoyed seeing his former teammate.
“It’s fun, especially when it’s somebody you played high school with,” Ruiz said. “It makes it more fun. Sort of like a reunion. You can hang out with him again. Spend some more time with him.”
Michigan players this week said they have no issue with Ole Miss transfers potentially joining the team.
“More competition makes everybody better,” Ruiz said. “I don’t think anybody feels threatened really.”