It was reported early this week that Shea Patterson, the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country and a current Ole Miss Rebels commit, will be visited by both Ohio State and Alabama in the near future. That, in combination with a snippet from a Bleacher Report interview in which Patterson said "you don't know what's going to happen," has fans in Oxford a tad uneasy.
But in an interview with the Cup on Tuesday morning, Shea insisted that his commitment to Ole Miss remains "very firm."
Patterson and five other finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award are currently up in New York City being herded through a bit of a public relations tour. As such, we were able to get him on the phone for a few minutes to chat. In addition to reemphasizing his commitment to Ole Miss, he also touched on the possibility of being redshirted if Chad Kelly decides to come back next season, told us how annoying it is when people tweet at croots and attempted to settle Red Cup's long-running ketchup vs. mustard on a hot dog debate (spoiler: he did not settle it one damn bit).
Here's the entire convo, with our questions in bold.
Ole Miss struggled a bit around the midpoint of the season, but picked up a lot of momentum here at the end. What do you think about the strong finish?
They're a fourth-and-25 away from being in Atlanta this past weekend. They finished up with wins over Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Mississippi State, so I'd say they did a great a great job of finishing. I have the opportunity to win there at Ole Miss. They're on the brink of doing something really special. That really was a huge factor in my decision.
Does Chad Kelly's success get you excited for what you can do in Hugh Freeze's offense?
Yea definitely, I think Chad's done an awesome job this year. I feel like going into the offensive scheme that Ole Miss runs next year, it'll be a smooth transition for me. I don't think I'll be a normal freshman going into it.
Speaking of Chad, he'll be deciding soon whether he'll enter the 2016 NFL Draft. If he ends up coming back, would that affect your decision at all?
I mean, Chad's gonna do what's best for him, he's a great player. But I don't think that really plays a factor. If he did decide to leave, obviously that would open it up a lot more in my eyes. Either way, I'm gonna go in there and compete from Day 1 and be myself.
So you'd be OK with sitting behind Chad during your first season?
Oh yea definitely, all of the best quarterbacks have that redshirt year. I mean you look at Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, all those guys all redshirted because they had a guy in front of them. Either way, I think it will be beneficial, whatever decision he decides to make -- if he decides to go it will be beneficial or if he stays. In my eyes, there is no negative aspect to that decision.
Have the coaches talked to you about the possibility of taking a redshirt next year?
Uh no, not really.
What do you think about fans tweetin at croots? It's gotta get annoying as hell, right?
[Laughs] It can sometimes, but you just have to admire their love for that school. They're just trying to get what's best for that school because they love it so much.
But yea, it can be a little annoying at times. You can be throwing out a regular tweet and next thing you know, you got 50 fans telling you to come to their school. I'll be like "just got done working out" and they'll be hundreds of people saying "Roll Tide" or "Go Tigers" or "Hotty Toddy". But it just depends how you take it. I just decided to have fun with it.
So talk about this crew of talented young receivers you're gonna be playing with. Four-stars Damarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson signed on last year and it looks like four-star D.K. Metcalf will join you on Signing Day.
Oh it's gonna make my job so much easier. I feel like I can depend on those guys to make plays for me. Especially the way [Damore'ea] Stringfellow and Quincy [Adeboyejo] finished up. Damarkus Lodge and Van Jefferson are, in my eyes, the best young receivers in the country. And then you got D.K. [Metcalf] coming in and whoever else we get in this 2016 class. I think we'll have the best receiving corps in the country.
Can you talk Laquon into sticking around for us?
Ah... [laughs] I've been talking to Quon ever since I started getting recruited to Ole Miss. As much as I want him to stay and to be able to throw to him next year, he's gotta do what's best for him and his family.
How much recruiting do you do for Ole Miss when you're hanging around these other big-name targets?
Yea that's a big thing for me. I try not to bash guys or be overwhelming about the recruiting process because I know how it felt when I wasn't committed. But I throw pitches every now and then. You know, "hey we can do something special here." Any chance I get, I throw something at them.
Have you had much of an opportunity to start getting to know the town of Oxford yet?
My brother coaches (at Ole Miss), so I've had the opportunity to get down there a lot. This year I think I went to three or four games. I got a great opportunity to check out the town and get around the players and coaches and the fans. I feel like my relationship with the whole town of Oxford grew a lot this year.
I'd ask what your favorite bar is, but I don't want to get you in trouble. What's your favorite restaurant in town?
Have you been to Big Bad Breakfast or the Beacon? There's always a debate on our site about which is better.
Yea, I've been to Big Bad Breakfast. I haven't been to the other one yet. I'm a fan of Big Bad, but only because I haven't been to the other one.
How much did the town itself weigh into your commitment? Or was it strictly a football decision?
I want to go to a place where I'm not only gonna excel in football, but be happy I'm there and not be bored the whole year. Oxford is definitely a homey place to me and I just feel I won't regret being there the rest of the 365 days outside of football season. I kind of looked at it like, if I didn't play football, where would I go? I think I would still choose Ole Miss.
Ok, straight up: how solid is your commitment to Ole Miss?
It's very firm. I'm very solid with my commitment. I love Coach Freeze and the coaching staff and they have a really good class coming in. I can't wait to enroll there in January.
We're gonna finish up with a condiment question. If you're eating a hot dog, you going ketchup or mustard?
Both. Gotta have some flavors in there, mix it up a little bit.
What about relish? You putting any toppings on there?
Oh no. No relish or horse radish.