Head coach Hugh Freeze was supposedly faced with a tough decision at quarterback this week after Chad Kelly was lost for the season, but after freshman Shea Patterson led a comeback victory in College Station, he admitted that the decision wasn’t really that hard.
“It was a fairly easy decision once I knew Shea and his parents were on board with it. I can’t preach ‘team’ all year long and then look at Evan Engram and Fadol Brown and everybody else and say ‘Hey, I’m not going to give you the best chance to win in your last three games.’ So once Shea and his family were on board, it was a pretty easy decision.”
Patterson threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns, and led the Rebel offense to 26 points in the second half. His first career touchdown pass was, dare we say it, Johnny Manziel-like, and he led the drive to set up Gary Wunderlich’s game-winning field goal with 37 seconds left. Here’s how Freeze evaluated his young quarterback:
“I’ve recruited this kid since he was a ninth grader, and I’ve kind of known all along that he just had that kind of ‘it’ quality. I leave very few high school games feeling like the kid is just a no-brainer, but I had one opportunity to watch him play and I left that game kinda with a man-crush on him. I just saw a kid that had such poise and great mechanics, he could run, he could throw. At the end of the day, he just makes plays and doesn’t get rattled by a lot. They threw a lot of stuff at him tonight, and he made a few bad reads here and there, but he made up for it with his competitiveness and athletic ability.”
Even Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin praised Patterson, talking about his quickness and ability to extend plays:
“I think we saw how fast he really is. He extended plays and kept his eyes downfield, and when he got to the sideline, instead of just running out of bounds he was able to keep plays alive. He’s got a lot of talent, and I think we saw that on display tonight.”
If Patterson continues to play this well—and there’s no reason to believe he won’t— he’ll keep earning praise from his head coach as well as the opponents.