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Kirk Herbstreit thinks J.J. McCarthy should return to Michigan in 2024

Maize n Brew caught up with Herbstreit to talk about Michigan’s QB1.

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Colorado Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy has the potential to be a first-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft if he decides to forego his senior season. However, it’s not a cut and dry situation, otherwise McCarthy would have made his choice by now.

McCarthy’s focused solely on beating Alabama in the Rose Bowl on Monday afternoon, but the buzz surrounding his draft status continues to mount. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s advice to McCarthy is to stay in the present moment, but Harbaugh also sees a player in McCarthy with NFL talent.

“One-track mind right now, just stay in the here and now, see if you can’t dominate this day,” Harbaugh said this week. “But I can’t lie and say I don’t think he’s NFL-ready. I very much think he’s NFL-ready.”

With Harbaugh’s comments in mind, Maize n Brew got ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit’s thoughts on McCarthy. Herbstreit thinks McCarthy should head back to Michigan for one more season, even if he receives a first-round grade for the ‘24 draft.

“I think he’s still a quarterback that could benefit from another year college football. He may be a first-rounder if he leaves but it’s not about being a first-rounder to me at that position,” Herbstreit told Maize n Brew. “If you look at the quarterbacks that have recently gone into the NFL and done pretty well pretty quickly, I always look at reps. When I’m doing these NFL games on Thursday when I look at a quarterback, especially a young guy — how many years did he play? How many reps did he get as a passer, and as a starter? I think J.J., has been through so much, but I think another year allows him to be almost a turnkey quarterback you got ready.”

Herbstreit named McCarthy and one other QB as the top-tier options for the 2025 NFL Draft if McCarthy returns to the Wolverines.

“He’d be the name, along with Quinn Ewers probably, the kid from Texas. I think they’d be the main guys. If he goes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do well, but if it was me, I think he should come back from another year.”

McCarthy’s passed for 2,630 yards this season with 19 touchdowns and just four interceptions. His biggest test of the season awaits against Alabama, a game where the Wolverines are a narrow 1.5-point favorite, per DraftKings Sportsbook.

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