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Gus Johnson on J.J. McCarthy: May have to put in Heisman conversation now

Johnson thinks highly of McCarthy.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Fox Sports College Football’s lead play-by-play voice Gus Johnson has called plenty of Michigan games this season, including their 45-23 victory over Ohio State on Saturday.

Johnson has seen J.J. McCarthy take the starting job this season and improve as the season has progressed. For Johnson, he sees a player in McCarthy who’s enthusiastic and fearless.

“That kid, what the word for it? He’s just positive, he’s got incredible positive energy,” Johnson told WXYZ’s Brad Galli. “He’s always got a smile on his face, he’s got a bounce in his step. It’s just so refreshing to see a kid — that he’s not afraid. He’s not afraid to make mistakes, he’s not afraid to be great. What we’re seeing is his evolution, he’s growing right in front of our eyes. He’s 19 years old, let me say that again, 19 years old.”

McCarthy is the first Michigan quarterback to win his first 11 starts — McCarthy’s thrown for 2,215 yards this season with 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions along with 240 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

McCarthy’s been very clutch of late, leading Michigan to a 19-17 comeback win over Illinois and having an incredible performance against Ohio State in Columbus. McCarthy threw for three touchdowns against Ohio State and had a rushing score as well. McCarthy’s deep ball was on point and it was a big difference-maker.

With the way the season has progressed for Michigan and McCarthy, Johnson thinks it’s time to put McCarthy in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

“I was thinking last night when you look at college football now after Michigan beat Ohio State — this year, we may have to put him in that Heisman conversation now,” Johnson said. “After this game that he just played against Ohio State — undefeated, put up huge numbers, three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown, and a win against your rival. If he wins a (Big Ten) championship this weekend (versus Purdue), I know Caleb Williams is doing well with USC and right now he may be the frontrunner but they’ve lost a game, and Michigan has not lost a game.”

Johnson and Klatt will be on the call for the Big Ten Championship Game that pits Purdue vs. Michigan and Johnson says he’ll be mentioning McCarthy and the Heisman.

“I think this weekend Joel and I are gonna start talking about J.J. McCarthy as a Heisman candidate and potential Heisman winner.”

With a big performance by McCarthy on Saturday and a Michigan win, anything is possible.