Five-star freshman J.J. McCarthy might not be the starting quarterback for Michigan, but he made his presence known in his collegiate debut against Western Michigan on Saturday with Michigan up big in the second half.
Growing pains are to be expected from McCarthy, so when he threw a backwards pass with pressure in his face for a big loss, it wasn’t a major surprise. Mistakes are going to happen and McCarthy needs all the reps he can get to become more comfortable at the college level.
However, McCarthy also showed why he was such a coveted recruit with one of the better throws you’ll see all year.
With pressure coming at McCarthy, he was able to break a tackle and use a stiff arm to evade Western Michigan defenders — McCarthy then scramble to the right sideline, kept his eyes downfield, set his feet, and threw deep down the field and hit receiver Daylen Baldwin for a big score.
The pass was McCarthy’s first career touchdown, a 69-yard score. The throw by McCarthy is one many quarterbacks wouldn’t even attempt — throwing all the way across the field is risky business, it’s something that takes skill and confidence. While McCarthy has a long way to go to reach his perceived high ceiling, this was a glimpse into what he can bring to the offense.
McCarthy is the first freshman quarterback to appear in the season opener for Michigan since Devin Gardner a decade ago.