It’s hard to get a high school freshman quarterback to commit. It’s harder still to hold on to that commitment all the way to Signing Day.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, while not giving up the fight, on Monday lost the commitment of Shea Patterson, who has soared to be the top-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2016 after pledging to the Wildcats on an unofficial visit in December 2012.
Patterson, at the time, had just completed his freshman year at Hidalgo (Texas) High School. He’s now heading into his junior season at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport, La.
"I called Rich Rodriguez myself and told him that I was opening up my recruitment so I can enjoy the process," Patterson told NOLA.com.
"… He was glad that I called him and not anyone else. I called him because he was the one that offered me in the beginning. He told me they are going to continue to recruit me."
LSU, though, becomes the likely frontrunner. The Tigers offered Patterson a scholarship this month after he participated in their Elite Prospect Camp, and last week hired his brother, Sean Patterson, to a full-time position as an offensive quality control coach. Rodriguez had Sean Patterson on staff as graduate assistant coach.
Shea Patterson with Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez after committing to the Wildcats in December 2012.
Scout.com rates Patterson as the top quarterback in the 2016 class and the No. 9 overall prospect. He holds scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and many more. He has taken unofficial visits to some of those schools.
"I’ll be able to weigh every school and every option fairly now that I have decommitted," he told NOLA.com. "Now, I just want to make the best decision for me."
Scout.com nationally recruiting analyst Greg Biggins recently said about Patterson: "I had a chance to see Patterson throw for three days at the Steve Clarkson QB Retreat in San Diego over Memorial Day weekend and was thoroughly impressed. In fact it only took about 3-4 throws to see the kid was a special talent.
"His footwork, quick release, live arm, accuracy and ability to throw with heat or touch depending on the throw really jumped out to me. His pocket mobility, presence and ability to move around, while keeping his eyes down the field was equally impressive. On top of the physical ability, Patterson also showed an advanced feel for understanding the different reads he had to make and picking up a complex college offense shouldn’t be an issue for him."