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Name: Cade McNamara
Weight: 212 lbs.
High school: Reno (NV) Damonte Ranch
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #12
Last year: I ranked McNamara #65 and said he would be a backup quarterback (LINK). He completed 43/71 passes for 425 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions; he also ran for 1 touchdown.
TTB Rating: 65
My, what a ride it’s been in just a couple seasons for Cade McNamara. Thought by many to be a down-the-road option at quarterback for a team that had Shea Patterson, Dylan McCaffrey, and Joe Milton when he committed, that road got a lot shorter in a hurry. Patterson graduated and moved on, McCaffrey transferred to Northern Colorado, and suddenly McNamara was the primary backup to newly anointed starter Joe Milton in 2020. That situation evolved quickly, as well, with Milton getting injured/playing poorly mid-season, thrusting McNamara into the limelight. McNamara played late against Wisconsin, took over early against Rutgers, started against Penn State, and . . . promptly got hurt.
Milton looked the part of a stud quarterback, but he didn’t play like it with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Meanwhile, McNamara looks like an average dude but didn’t turn over the ball. He commanded the offense better than Milton did in more extended playing time, and McNamara’s decision-making was quicker. One of the main things I look for when evaluating quarterbacks is how quickly they make decisions at the line of scrimmage and progress through their reads. That was an area where Milton struggled, but McNamara does well in that phase, despite his lack of elite physical talents.
This off-season McNamara has had to fend off 5-star freshman J.J. McCarthy, who reportedly struggled a little bit in the spring but has turned it on during fall camp. The coaching staff has been steadfast that McNamara is the guy, even though McCarthy will play. Michigan also has former Texas Tech starter Alan Bowman and redshirt freshman Dan Villari on the roster. It will be interesting to see whether McNamara entrenches himself as the starter or if McCarthy pops up if McNamara struggles. It would be great if Michigan can put the brakes on the revolving door at quarterback and keep players at the position for a few years. I’m expecting McNamara to have an efficient 2021 season. Michigan should be able to run the ball to keep pressure off of him, and he has some talented targets at wideout and tight end.
Prediction: Starting quarterback; 2,800 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
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