Michigan football quarterback Shea Patterson signed a contract with the Texas Rangers as reported by the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday.
Not to worry, Wolverines fans, as the contract is set for 2019 after this upcoming football season. Patterson participated fully in spring practices and will compete with redshirt sophomore Brandon Peters, redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey and freshman Joe Milton.
NCAA rules allow players to become professional in one sport while retaining their collegiate eligibility in another. Many have taken advantage of this permission, including to ensure a position on a major league roster regardless of the sport.
Patterson hasn’t played competitive baseball in nearly three years — since his junior season of high school for Calvary Baptist Academy. After he transferred to IMG Academy for his senior season, he did not play, as he became an early enrollee at Ole Miss.
Still, the Rangers sought to add the former-high school third baseman to their farm system when they drafted him in the 39th round in the MLB Draft last month.
It isn’t entirely uncommon for a quarterback to be drafted to the Major Leagues. For instance, Michigan legend Tom Brady was drafted by the now-defunct Montreal Expos in the 1995 MLB draft despite not playing baseball in college.
This year, the Oakland Athletics drafted Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the ninth overall pick in the draft. Murray intends to play one final season of college football for the Sooners before reporting for Spring Training in March 2019. Unlike Patterson though, Murray played two seasons of baseball in college for Texas A&M. In 2017 as a left fielder, Murray struggled, hitting just .122 in 27 games. However, this season, Murray played center field and hit .296 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI.
Before transferring to Michigan, Patterson arrived in Oxford, Miss. as a much-heralded recruit for the Rebels. 247sports ranked him as the top quarterback in his class — the very same class as Wolverine teammate Peters — and the fourth-best player overall.
For Ole Miss, Patterson played 10 games in two season, passing for 3139 yards and 23 touchdowns. Last year, before suffering a right knee injury against Louisiana State in his seventh game of the season, Patterson threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns with a passer rating of 151.5. Michigan’s combined quarterback trio of John O’Korn, Wilton Speight and Peters combined for a mere 2,226 touchdowns, a paltry nine touchdowns and a meager 110.3 passer rating in 13 games.
Patterson will look to improve on the Wolverine quarterbacks’ lackluster season Sept. 1 when Michigan takes on Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Come February though, Patterson could consider forgoing his final year of eligibility for the Wolverines and pursue a baseball career.