J.J. McCarthy, Wolverine

J.J. McCarthy, Wolverine

May 12, 2019
La Grange Park (IL) Nazareth Academy QB J.J. McCarthy (image via Hudl)

La Grange Park (IL) Nazareth Academy quarterback J.J. McCarthy committed to Michigan on an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor Saturday. He picked the Wolverines over offers from Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, among others.

McCarthy is 6’2″, 180 lbs. He claims a 4.87 forty, a 4.47 shuttle, and a 30″ vertical. As a sophomore in 2018, he completed 182/240 passes for 3,448 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.

Rivals: N/A
247 Sports: 4-star, 95 grade, #2 pro-style QB, #19 overall

Hit the jump for more on McCarthy’s commitment.

Michigan offered McCarthy in late November of last year at a time when he had some other decent offers (Indiana, Purdue), but nothing major. He proceeded to visit Ann Arbor a couple times, including in April and then this past weekend. There has been some talk that Ohio State had Kyle McCord (who committed to the Buckeyes in April) and McCarthy 1-2 on their board, and slow-played McCarthy a little bit in the hopes that McCord would commit. Either way, it ended up working out for Michigan, who appeared to have been higher on McCarthy, anyway.

McCarthy has decent size at 6’2″ and 180 lbs. but he’s nothing special in that department. Having explosive arm talent isn’t necessarily expected of someone with those measurements, but he has a great arm. He can sit in the pocket and throw all over the field, but he also has the ability to throw accurately and with velocity when moving to his left and right. His ball placement is excellent as well, as he can throw the ball over the head of defenders into the waiting arms of his receiver, squeeze the ball into a narrow sideline window, or take some speed off to float touch passes. His feet are active and superb. As a runner, he doesn’t have great speed, but his nifty feet and vision can move the chains, and as a former hockey player, he’s not afraid of contact.

Size is a little bit of an issue since he needs to add bulk for protection. I would also like to see McCarthy improve his ball security, as he sometimes scrambles with only one hand on the ball and can hold onto the ball a little too long when trying to escape.

Overall, McCarthy is a very good quarterback prospect. I haven’t had a chance to review all the noteworthy quarterbacks in the 2021 class, but he would be one of the top few in the 2020 class, even after his sophomore year. This comparison may not wow some people, but he reminds me a little bit of former Utah, San Francisco, and Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith.

Michigan now has two commitments in the 2021 class, where McCarthy joins Sterling Heights (MI) Stevenson offensive tackle Giovanni El-Hadi (LINK). When he arrives on campus, the depth chart should look something like Dylan McCaffrey (RS Sr.), Joe Milton (RS Jr.), Cade McNamara (RS So.), and J.D. Johnson (RS Fr.), even though there’s very little chance that remains the exact roster makeup and pecking order.

TTB Rating: It’s too early for 2021 TTB Ratings


  1. Comments: 1863
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    May 12, 2019 at 10:27 AM

    Excellent pickup. Let’s hope he continues to develop, and bring in some talent with him

    As for your closing line, that may be a reality in today’s CFB, but we’re likely to upset someone by discussing it so early

    ” … the depth chart should look something like Dylan McCaffrey (RS Sr.), Joe Milton (RS Jr.), Cade McNamara (RS So.), and J.D. Johnson (RS Fr.), even though there’s very little chance that remains the exact roster makeup … “

  2. Comments: 276
    Joined: 2/6/2018
    May 12, 2019 at 11:32 AM

    Depth chart when he arrives, my guess:
    1. McCaffrey–in his last year
    2. McNamara
    3. JD Johnson
    Milton has transferred out as he found himself not only having been put lower in depth than McNamara in the 2020 season, but now also lower than Johnson for the upcoming 2021 season
    4. McCarthy (being redshirted the only reason he is lower in depth than Johnson, and possibly McNamara)

    I think McCarthy is going to be that good. It’s not just his abilities as a QB that makes me think this, but also his toughness. He played in the State Championship even though he had a broken thumb. Tough kid! Toughness means a lot in the game of football.

  3. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    May 13, 2019 at 1:17 PM

    I think Milton will be a starter at Michigan. I hope he has a great career and see no reason he can’t. He had a very good freshman year!

    I have no problem with anybody projecting out eligibility to make a depth chart with the massive (and deserved) qualifier like ” there’s very little chance that remains the exact roster makeup and pecking order.” That’s acknowledging reality. Reality is that nobody would have predicted the November 2018 QB depth chart in May 2018, same in 2017, and most other years. So like, 2 years out — you’re almost definitely wrong.

    I think people should have fun speculating on the team, predicting who will beat out who, etc. But calling for specific people to leave town or predicting injuries for people or deriding the character of teenagers you don’t know jack about — Just nasty, IMO. Is that enjoyable? Not to me. YMMV, I guess.

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