ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan added 16 players to its roster on the first day of the early signing period Wednesday, but head coach Jim Harbaugh said he's not sure yet if the team's most high-profile addition will be eligible to play in 2018.
Harbaugh said he hasn't yet heard if Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson will be cleared to play immediately by the NCAA. Patterson was the top-ranked quarterback in his recruiting class in 2015 and started seven games for the Rebels in 2017 before injuring his leg. He officially joined the Michigan program earlier this week. He is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to play right away due to the sanctions levied against Ole Miss for recruiting violations this year. Harbaugh said that if Patterson is cleared to play, he will be able to compete against Michigan's other current quarterbacks for the job.
"The only thing that's guaranteed here is an opportunity," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said redshirt freshman Brandon Peters is currently the team's starting quarterback and expects him to enter spring practice with a mentality that no one will take that job from him. He expects former blue-chip prospect Dylan McCaffrey, who redshirted this past fall, to approach the offseason with the attitude that he's the best quarterback on campus. And he expects Patterson to come to Ann Arbor thinking "wait 'til they get a load of me."
Harbaugh spoke to reporters on campus Wednesday at the end of the first day of college football's first early signing period. The coach said that the overlapping recruiting calendar and bowl practice schedule made for busy days in December, but he didn't see that as a negative.
"Managed it well," Harbaugh said of his staff. "We're doing [two] things at once, but you love doing it, so it's not work."
In bowl preparation news, Harbaugh said that potential first-round draft pick Maurice Hurst plans to play in the Outback Bowl to finish his college career on Jan. 1. Hurst told reporters earlier this month that he had not yet decided if he would play. Hurst, a first-team All America pick, is considered by many to be the best defensive tackle in the 2018 NFL draft class.
Harbaugh added that defensive end Chase Winovich has made a decision about whether to return for his final year of eligibility or turn pro, but that he would leave it up to Winovich to announce his intentions.