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Nick Fitzgerald and Shea Patterson embracing opportunity at Manning Passing Academy

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THIBODAUX, LA (Mississippi News Now) -

It's a summer tradition 22 years and counting. The Manning Passing Academy brings the kids, the big kids, and the biggest names in college football to Louisiana.

Eli Manning is impressed with Nick Fitzgerald and Shea Patterson. "Yeah, I thought they were getting along too well for an Ole Miss/Mississippi State rivalry. Both of them are good kids, great guys, and good laughs from both of them. Nick is a big strong guy, tall and obviously you see by the way he runs in games, it's impressive."

Nick smashed MSU and SEC records in 2016. He's noticed a closer bond between the Bulldogs entering 2017.

"Last season, we had some individuals. We didn't exactly have that camaraderie, that brotherhood that really meshed together. This offseason, a big difference. It was kinda cliquey last season, but this year it's very very tight. Everybody is in it together. You're at the Manning Passing Academy, it's famous. It's an incredible camp to be around some of the best quarterbacks in the country. Get to hang out with the Mannings, that's a dream come true for any quarterback."

Shea is a star in the making in Oxford. He says the Rebels are responding through all of the uncertainty.

"It's brought us together even closer. We're all going through it together. We still play 12 games, we're still playing in the best conference in the country. Play LSU, Alabama, Auburn, all those guys, we're just taking it one game at a time. It's very special, especially with the Mannings. It's something I've dreamed about since I was a little kid. Just good to come here and pick their brains a little bit and spend time with them. It's awesome."

The eldest Manning held court today in Thibodaux. So who better to ask about the NCAA investigation than Archie himself. #18 hoping for the best with his alma mater. "I feel real strong about our athletic administration at Ole Miss and our head coach. I've got my thoughts and my feelings, but I'm not going to go public about all that. I'm just hoping for the best at Ole Miss."

From one Ole Miss QB to another, Archie liked what he saw in Shea's first few games. "Shea is a good player. I was very impressed, he went into a tough situation last year and had to play those last 3 games when he was going to get a redshirt," Archie said.

Nick and Shea will show off their skills Saturday in the Air it Out Quarterback Challenge. Both looking to win it like Southern Miss QB Nick Mullens did last year. Both signal callers soaking up all the knowledge and information they can before another SEC gauntlet.

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