ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he’d like to figure out his starting quarterback “sooner rather than later,” but right now he thinks the battle for that job is as competitive as any on the Wolverines’ roster.
Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson and redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters are considered front-runners to win the job ahead of Michigan’s season opener at Notre Dame on Sept. 1. Former five-star prospect Dylan McCaffrey, freshman Joe Milton and graduate transfer Jeff George Jr. haven’t been ruled out of the competition yet, either.
“None of them have given in,” Harbaugh said Monday night. “None of them have dropped off, so it rages on.”
Patterson joined the program last December, and the NCAA declared him eligible to play in the upcoming season after spring practice concluded. Teammates say his ability to extend plays and throw good passes while on the run has stood out in practice thus far, but they, too, were careful to add that the rest of the quarterbacks have been equally as impressive. Harbaugh said the biggest strides Patterson has made since the spring are in better understanding a new offense.
Patterson started 10 games during two years at Ole Miss. He missed the last several weeks of the 2017 season while recovering from a leg injury. He passed for 3,139 yards and 23 touchdowns at Ole Miss.
“He’s definitely a good quarterback. He was the No. 1 quarterback [prospect] coming out of high school for a reason,” said Michigan safety Khaleke Hudson. “… He’s been giving us a challenge, but all the quarterbacks have been giving us a challenge.”
Peters took over the starting quarterback job at Michigan in early November last year. He started every game in November save for the season finale against Ohio State, which he missed while recovering from a head injury.
Harbaugh didn’t give a specific timeline for when he plans to make a decision. He said he hasn’t yet decided if he’ll announce his choice to the public before Michigan’s offense takes the field against Notre Dame in less than three weeks. Harbaugh has declined to name a starter at that position in the preseason during each of his first three years as Michigan’s head coach.