Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy earned high praise from coach Jim Harbaugh during Big Ten Media Days, with comparisons to some of the NFL’s best gunslingers in Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
McCarthy said he’s ready to outperform those expectations in a conversation with WXYZ’s Brad Galli.
“It just reaffirms to me that what I’m doing is the right thing and just continue to do that,” McCarthy said. “But at the end of the day, I have to just keep focusing on myself and keep improving myself. And like he says, I emulate those boys, I observe them all the time, but I’m trying to surpass them.”
INTERVIEW: JJ McCarthy enters his second season as Michigan Football's starting quarterback with a big advantage. He had a healthy offseason to work.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) July 31, 2023
He appreciated Jim Harbaugh's comparison to Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, two QBs he admires, but has goals to surpass them too pic.twitter.com/6PKsxZy1u1
After backing up former Michigan and current Iowa quarterback Cade McNamara his freshman year and riding shotgun to start his sophomore season as part of Harbaugh’s eye-test quarterback battle, McCarthy will finally enter a season as the undisputed No. 1 option for the Wolverines. He said this approach to the season allowed him to get closer to his teammates.
“I feel like it’s been like you said, peaceful, it’s been effortless. It’s been just great to have those opportunities to be with the guys and know what’s happening. No one is unsure of anything. So it’s been really good,” McCarthy said.
Many of us might not have paid much attention to McCarthy’s health last season as he broke Ohio State’s defensive line for a critical third-down rushing score, but we’ve yet to see him at true full strength. He said he’s yet to feel that way until now, too.
“Honestly it’s just been amazing to be healthy. To not have that in the back of my head; not having that just on my mind all the time when I’m going into throwing sessions. It’s been really amazing,” he said.
McCarthy will have a lot of pressure on his shoulders going into the first four games of the season with Harbaugh likely sidelined, but if he wants to prove he has the level of leadership like the quarterbacks in Buffalo and Kansas City, this will be his perfect opportunity.