Nation's No.1 quarterback will enroll in January

Shea Patterson out of IMG has made the trek to Oxford, Miss., on more occasions that he can count but this trip was different. The nation's No. 1 quarterback was in town this time for his official visit. The 5-Star will enroll at Ole Miss in January. Time is ticking.

"This time I really got to sit down and spend a lot of time with their coaches," Patterson said. "I got to spend a lot of time with coach (Hugh) Freeze. I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner with him each night. It's not like I didn't spend a lot of time with him and the rest of their coaches on my past visits but this weekend was just different. Every time I go up there it gets better and better. I feel more comfortable every time I'm up there. It's just a real special feeling I get when I'm on the Ole Miss campus. It feels like home away from home. I just love it in Oxford, and what I love most is how special they make my family feel too. My parents love it up there as much as I do."

Shea's father, Sean, echoes those sentiments.

"Ole Miss is just a unique place," Sean Patterson said. "They run everything first class up there. The staff they have in place up there is special. They are real. It's not a dog and pony show like you see at a lot of places. If you don't like Ole Miss the best thing you can do is not visit, because once you do, you will fall in love. That's what I tell everyone."

The No.4 overall prospect in the country had a chance to go over what Ole Miss' plans are for him when he enrolls in January.

"That was the main thing I wanted to go over. I talked to coach Freeze in detail about my future for my freshman season. Their plan is to have me come in the spring and compete for the job right away. He made a point to let me know that nothing will be given to me. They have a guy (Chad Kelly) who has it rolling pretty good right now, but he told me I will be given every opportunity to come in and compete for the starting spot. If I don't get the job then I could always redshirt. They laid out their academic plan for me. I'll probably major in business, and with me coming in January, I can get my degree after three years and just concentrate on football my fourth year there. My mom, like most moms, is really more concerned about my academics than football. She wanted to make sure I'm on the right path to get my degree as early as possible. Their academic counselors did a great job with my parents mapping out the plan for me."

Shea's dad was just as excited about their plans for his son.

"Never once did they talk about Chad (Kelly) and him maybe going pro," Mr. Patterson said. "Their staff is just too professional for that. They don't tell you what you want to hear or anything like that. They just run everything first class. They told Shea that he will have every opportunity to earn the starting job. It was just like Chad when he came up there. You had a couple quarterbacks who had been in the system two years waiting their turn. Chad came in there and was given the same opportunity to win the job as Ryan (Buchanan) and Devante (Kincade). Chad beat them out and he's playing great. That's the way things should be run. Ole Miss' staff is going to give any new player the same opportunity to compete for the job as the players coming back. I've watched closely how they run things since they have been up there. I have known a few of their coaches a long/long time. We have complete faith in those guys."

The 6-foot-2 quarterback sees a lot of similarities in Chad Kelly and himself.

"He's a good athlete with a big arm. It's awesome to see what he has done there in just his first year. I see the progress he has made from game one to now and it's remarkable. I think we have similar attributes, and I see how well he's playing in their system. I just think to myself, man, just think what I can do in that system when I have three to four years to play in it. Look what Chad is already doing in just a few games. It's pretty exciting. To be honest, I'm just ready to get started."

The last time that the Ole Miss fan base was this excited about a player entering their program was a guy named Eli Manning.

"Man, that's definitely an honor to have people even mentioning me in the same breath as Eli. He's one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. It would be great to put my mark on the Ole Miss program like Eli did. That would be awesome to be thought of like that, but to be honest; I don't want to try and do too much and be like him. I just want to be me and not do too much. I just hope after I leave Ole Miss that will be good enough."

The Rebels had several of their other top recruits in town including his teammate Isaac Nauta. Also in attendance were some of his future teammates in D.K. Metcalf, Eli Johnson, Justin Connor, Gabe Angel, Octavious Cooley, Greg Eisworth, Jack DeFoor, Bryce Mathews and one of his good friends from back home in Shyheim Carter. Another person he made a point to talk to was another Ole Miss target in A.J. Brown.

"Man, it was good seeing all of those guys. I hadn't seen Shyheim a couple months. That's my boy. We are like brothers. For me building a bond with all of my future teammates like D.K. Eli, Octavious, Jack, Bryce and all of those guys is really important to me. Especially those guys who will be blocking for me. Those guys are going to keep me standing up (laugh). We have such a great group of guys in our class. We all get along so well. We are already like brothers. We are going to do special things when we get up there to Ole Miss. Now we are trying to add a few final pieces to the class. Players like Shyheim Carter, Drake Davis, Devin White, A.J. Brown, Isaac Nauta, Jeffery Simmons, Rashan Gary, Greg Little, Willie Allen, and there are several more I'm talking to daily. I'm doing everything I can to make sure we have the number one class in the country when signing day rolls around."

One of those players mentioned just happens to the No.1 offensive linemen in the country, Greg Little.

"That's my boy. We talk almost every day. We first met two summers ago at the Under Armour Elite 50 in Florida. We spent a lot of time together on that trip and just clicked. We both saw how unstoppable we would be if we stayed together. I know he'll take an official visit to Ole Miss and I plan on being there with him. I know he really likes Ole Miss. Hopefully it's going to work out for him to protect my blindside. We talk about it a lot."

There has been internet rumors going around recently that Shea could be listening to other schools like Alabama and Florida. Any truth?

"No, not at all. I'm all locked in with Ole Miss. I've been locked in with Ole Miss. Nothing has changed."

Will Ole Miss be the only school he takes a visit to?

"Some of my friends here at IMG are going to trip over to an Alabama game later in the season. I might go with them to just get away and spend some time with them, but I'm locked in with Ole Miss. I don't even know if I'll have time to go anywhere else because I'm trying to get over to Ole Miss for the Arkansas and LSU games.  I'm all Ole Miss. This 2016 class is going to be special. There are going to be a lot of good times ahead for the Ole Miss fans."

Shea's career at IMG is almost finished. They only have one more game left on their schedule.

"My time here has been awesome. When I first made my decision to come here I wasn't so sure about it. I didn't want to leave my friends back in Louisiana, but I've made so many good and lifelong friends here. As far as football, I have gained about 10 pounds of muscle which has made me faster. Our schedule is just like it is in college. It's going to make my transition easier when I get to college. I'm surrounded by the best players in the country. The speed of the game is so much faster here. It's basically about on the same level as a junior college. From an accountability standpoint it's made me that much better of a person and player. It's been a blessing that I came here to finish up my high school career."

Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com


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