Michigan continues to prepare for the Rose Bowl matchup against Alabama on New Year’s Day, and it sounds like Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have changed up their practice regimen a little bit after falling short of the National Championship two years in a row.
One thing that isn’t changing, however, are NFL mock drafts. The ever-popular content format from NFL Draft experts — and seemingly anyone with a website/social media account these days — is beginning to ramp up as the order for next spring’s draft becomes more clear with each passing week.
Among Michigan’s highest rated players who could declare for the 2024 NFL Draft is J.J. McCarthy. As a third-year player, this is the first draft McCarthy is eligible for, but as he told the local media on Monday afternoon, he isn’t even thinking about that as the team prepares for the College Football Playoff.
“No, not at all,” McCarthy said regarding if he’s thought about what he’s going to do next year. “I’m completely in the present moment, soaking in every single day, enjoying every single practice, every single meeting with my guys. Only God knows that question, so we’ll know by the end of the season.”
McCarthy was asked a follow up question pertaining to any potential conversations he has had with the coaching staff about his future decision. McCarthy admitted he was asked if he wanted to sit down and talk about it, but he isn’t ready for those types of discussions.
“I told (Harbaugh) I’m only focused on Bama, coach. He loved it — he was fired up,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy, who was named the 2023 MVP during the team’s award’s banquet on Sunday, is one of several unquestioned leaders on this team. The way he prepares is unlike any other that Harbaugh has had at the position during his time as Michigan’s head coach, and Harbaugh has even deemed him as “the quarterback that all future quarterbacks are compared to.”
Completing 74.2 percent of his passes this year for 2,630 yards, 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions, McCarthy finished right inside the top-10 of the Heisman Trophy voting at No. 10, finishing right behind Michigan running back Blake Corum. Both have played a huge role for Michigan’s offense this season, but McCarthy is the straw that stirs the drink.
With the program’s first ever win in the CFP and a shot at the National Championship both on the line, McCarthy’s high level of play will be pivotal in Michigan’s upcoming College Football Playoff semifinal game against Alabama. All his focus is clearly on accomplishing those goals, and not having the NFL on his mind will only help in his preparation.