Derek Mason gushes over Ole Miss freshman QB Shea Patterson
Shea Patterson is all the rage these days.
Patterson, the No. 1 overall quarterback from the 2016 recruiting class, got the nod under center for Ole Miss last weekend after senior Chad Kelly had been lost for the season due to an ACL tear. With reaching a bowl game still a priority, coach Hugh Freeze took a gamble by burning his prized gem’s redshirt to give his true freshman an early start to his career.
So far, it’s paid off. Patterson went 25-of-42 (59.5 percent) with 338 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, leading the charge for a 23-point fourth quarter to give the Rebels a 29-28 win over then-No. 8 Texas A&M in College Station. After the impressive performance, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound rookie from Louisiana even drew comparisons to Peyton Manning.
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, who is preparing his defense for Patterson this week, didn’t go as far to compare Patterson to an all-time NFL great, but he did not lack kind words when gushing over the SEC’s next potential “it” man.
“I saw a young man with tremendous arm talent and an IQ to play this game,” Mason said of Patterson’s game tape during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference. “For his coaches to slow him down, it was unbelievable to watch. They obviously believe in him, he can extend the play, he’s fun to watch.”
Patterson led the Rebels on four scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner that ended with Gary Wunderlich’s field goal. Freeze says Ole Miss ran just four plays in the second half, which adds to former five-star gunslinger’s remarkable debut.
“Every play he calls has options, weapons at tight end and wide receiver help break down a defense,” said Mason. “Four plays may be enough for a quarterback like Patterson, kudos to coach Freeze.
“Chad (Kelly) had a better grasp of the offense and the defense better but from Shea, you see him having the ability to be Johnny Manziel-like. He causes stress to any defense he plays and that was obvious in the A&M game.”
Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5) will host Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4) this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET and the game will air on the SEC Network.