According to multiple reports Thursday, former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson is set to be ruled eligible to play for Michigan in 2018 after transferring this offseason.
Another Rebels transfer, wide receiver Van Jefferson, is hoping for the same clearance from the NCAA after his move to Florida.
Chris Balas of The Wolverine first reported an announcement on Patterson’s fate could come as soon as Friday. Soon thereafter, the Michigan Insider posted its own confirmation of the report, and the Detroit Free Press later posted its own report attributed to a source.
Patterson, who spent two seasons at Ole Miss, hired lawyer Thomas Mars and Michigan filed an appeal to the NCAA requesting a waiver of the rule that an FBS transfer must sit out a season. The basis of his case was that he was misled as a recruit by former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and his staff concerning NCAA violations committed by the program.
Mars did not confirm the reports when reached by the Free Press.
Jefferson, who redshirted as a freshman and played the last two seasons for the Rebels, went through spring practice with the Gators and looked like potentially the team’s best wide receiver if eligible.
When he spoke with local reporters last month, Jefferson didn’t want to discuss in much detail the timeline or nature of his appeal for immediate eligibility.
“I guess it’s everything that’s going down over there,” he said. “We’ll see what happens and everything like that, but I don’t want to get too much in it because you don’t want to give everything away. But we’ll see what happens with that.”
Jefferson also said, “I talk to Shea all the time and we talk about it and everything like that. We’re hopeful that it goes our way and everything like that, but we’ll see.”
When the NCAA’s sanctions initially came down on Ole Miss in December, including a two-year postseason ban for 2017-18, the sport’s governing body cleared the way for Rebels rising seniors to transfer without penalty while players with multiple years of eligibility left would have to go through the standard transfer process.
Jefferson was in the 2015 recruiting class, a year ahead of Patterson, and would have been a rising senior if not for redshirting as a freshman. But it’s unknown how his class standing affects his case relative to Patterson, as some of the supporting material reported to be included in Patterson’s appeal focuses on exchanges from the Ole Miss staff to 2016 recruits minimizing the nature of the program’s violations as well as the expected consequences. Freeze would end up resigning last summer.
If the reports are correct, the Gators and Jefferson are certainly hoping he lands a similar fate as his former quarterback.
Jefferson totaled 91 catches for 999 yards and 4 touchdowns over two seasons at Ole Miss. His 42 catches for 456 yards last season are more than any other receiver on Florida’s current roster.