Have Michigan football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Michigan mailbag to talk all things Wolverines. This week, we discuss the possibility of Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson transferring to Michigan, the Wolverines’ potential NFL draft picks in the spring and if Tarik Black will be available for the Outback Bowl.
Can Shea Patterson play right away or sit out a year? — Brandon Shuey, via Facebook
Yahoo.com and several other outlets, including the Oxford (Miss.) Eagle, reported that Mississippi has granted several players their unconditional releases, in the wake of NCAA sanctions levied last week against the Rebels football program.
The players who received a release will be allowed to transfer without penalty and without restrictions, and will be eligible to immediately play — Patterson is one of those players, and won’t have to sit out a year.
Patterson will visit Michigan this weekend, along with wide receiver Van Jefferson and safety Deontay Anderson.
@Landof10MICH Hey Rachel, any info/speculation on Chase Winovich's return or departure?
— Joy Boy (@JoiBoi422) December 5, 2017
The NFL draft is in April. Players who choose to declare for the 2018 draft need to do so by Jan. 15. Winovich and his draft-eligible teammates who haven’t fulfilled their eligibility still have a little more than a month to declare their intentions to play in the NFL.
I wrote about the decision to stay or to leave early for the NFL earlier this week, and noted that Winovich said after the Ohio State game last month he is in the process of deciding whether or not he will return to the Wolverines next season.
Winovich is the 11th-best defensive end in the 2019 draft class. I haven’t seen Winovich’s name mentioned yet in any 2018 mock drafts, but it’s still early. Those don’t start picking up traction until later in the month.
But Winovich has a big decision to make. He’ll likely take as much time as he needs to make that decision.
— Jonathan Green (@JblazeNYC) December 1, 2017
My colleague Kevin Goheen routed this to me over the weekend.
Kareem Walker is one of a bevy of running backs that returns in 2018, including Karan Higdon, Chris Evans, O’Maury Samuels and Kurt Taylor. Michigan also has two running backs committed to its 2018 class: Christian Turner of Buford, Ga., and Hassan Haskins of Eureka, Mo.
Walker will be a redshirt sophomore in 2018 and has to stand out in a crowded field, and not just with his numbers. He has to prove his blocking and pass-protection abilities and has to find what elevates him above his teammates at the position.
Dylan McCaffrey took a redshirt year for a reason: development. 2018 will be his first opportunity to legitimately compete to be a starter at quarterback.
The problem is, Michigan doesn’t have much experience to work with at quarterback. Brandon Peters (37 for 64 passing, 486 yards, 4 touchdown passes in five games) is the incumbent entering 2018. Michigan’s plans at quarterback could change if Patterson leaves Mississippi and joins the Wolverines as a transfer.
Rashan Gary is projected as a first-round draft pick in 2019. College players cannot declare for the NFL draft until they are three years out of high school. Right now, Gary hasn’t given any indication as to what his future will be past his junior year at Michigan.
Will Tarik Black play in the bowl game, or will he take a medical redshirt? — Jonathan Moody, via Facebook
Tarik Black sustained a broken left foot Sept. 16 against Air Force (Michigan’s third game of the season) and underwent surgery. Black could resume practices as Michigan prepares for the Outback Bowl, but Jim Harbaugh said Sunday on a teleconference that he is leaning towards not playing Black in the Jan. 1 bowl against South Carolina for redshirt purposes.
“He’s already played in four games this year and right now the rule is if he’s only played in four, he could get this year back as a medical redshirt,” Harbaugh said. “As I sit here now, I’d probably say Tarik wouldn’t play. Get the year back.”
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