The Alabama Crimson Tide are preparing to make a final push for America's top-ranked quarterback recruit.
Fresh off a second consecutive SEC championship, head coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will spend time Wednesday at the home of 5-star prospect Shea Patterson, reports Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.
Patterson, verbally committed to the Ole Miss Rebels since February, is rated No. 1 nationally among pro-style passers in the 2016 composite rankings. He earned Elite 11 MVP honors in July at The Opening, an invite-only prospect showcase held at Nike's world headquarters.
Immediately after receiving that recognition, Patterson expressed excitement about enrolling early in Oxford.
"My ultimate goal for this senior season is to do as much as I can to prepare myself for college in the spring," he told Bleacher Report. "That means working hard every day in an effort to get better. I need to get faster, I need to get stronger, and hopefully everything will pay off at Ole Miss."
Patterson transferred from Calvary Baptist Academy (Shreveport, Louisiana) to national powerhouse IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida), where he led a star-studded squad to eight straight victories. He's developed the reputation as a strong leader and dynamic playmaker during a senior season that featured 21 total touchdowns and just four interceptions in those wins, according to MaxPreps.
"The biggest thing with Shea is that he's a natural leader. He's the kind of guy you want to follow on the field," 5-star tight end and IMG teammate Isaac Nauta told Bleacher Report. "Obviously, he's one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country."
Patterson initially pledged to Arizona as a freshman while attending Hidalgo High School in Texas. He backed off that decision before the start of his junior campaign, which included 2,428 passing yards and 41 total scores at Calvary Baptist.
His second commitment occurred last winter, when he selected Ole Miss from a list of landing spots ranging from LSU to Southern California. Less than a month later, older brother Sean Patterson joined the Rebels coaching staff after a stint at LSU.
"It's going to be a dream come true," Shea told Bleacher Report's Damon Sayles following the hire. "It's something we've talked about over the past few years wondering what it would be like being at same school. I've been to a lot of camps and competed against the best. I believe it all comes back to the preparation my brother taught me."
Patterson quickly became the centerpiece of an Ole Miss recruiting class rated No. 10 overall in composite rankings. He's been an impressive peer recruiter on behalf of the Rebels, targeting IMG teammates (Nauta and 4-star wide receiver Drake Davis) and several others (top-rated Texas offensive tackle Gregory Little and 4-star Louisiana running back Devin White among them).
Now approximately a month away from his anticipated arrival in Oxford, Patterson will accept perhaps one final sales pitch from Alabama.
Saban and Kiffin, preparing for a first-round College Football Playoff matchup with Michigan State, landed former Notre Dame quarterback pledge Blake Barnett, the 2014 Elite 11 MVP, last signing day. The Crimson Tide currently carry a 2016 commitment from 4-star Texas talent Jalen Hurts, who is considered the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in this cycle.
Hurts enjoyed a career-best campaign at Channelview High School this fall, throwing for 2,371 yards and 26 touchdowns. He averaged 8.7 yards per rushing attempt, gaining 1,393 yards with 25 touchdowns on the ground.
His presence in the Crimson Tide class clearly won't prevent Alabama from making a late run at Patterson, who is still most likely to spend time in Tuscaloosa as a visiting opponent in coming years.