Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy didn’t throw during Michigan’s spring practices or their spring game, but that’s about to change.
“He’s set to start throwing on Monday,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said on the In the Trenches Podcast. “It’s great news.”
McCarthy, the former five-star prospect, has been dealing with lingering arm soreness after throwing for 516 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions in 2021 as a true freshman. McCarthy also rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Harbaugh noted that McCarthy, despite not being able to throw during the spring, did take non-throwing reps and was still a charismatic and vocal leader on the team.
“Even though he wasn’t throwing, it still was the same J.J. bringing all the energy, all the competitive fire, all the leadership. Like a kid in a candy store,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the only way, or the best way to phrase what he’s like. And there’s just certain guys that are like that, and he’s one of them. And that’s at the very highest level of everything he does, he attacks with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You just always want to give him a big hug. You just love being around him. He’s got an extra pep in his step even knowing he’s going to be throwing the ball on Monday.”
Cade McNamara is Michigan’s starting quarterback, but McCarthy doesn’t see this as a done deal, and Harbaugh will let them compete this summer and during fall camp before making a clear decision.
The summer months will become all the more critical for both quarterbacks, but especially for McCarthy who needs to make up for the time he wasn’t able to throw to Michigan receivers this spring. During the summer months Michigan players can organize their own practices and workouts, but Michigan coaches can’t be around. In short, what ultimately happens is McNamara and McCarthy will both be getting work in on their own accord, and it’s imperative they take the lead and make sure they stay sharp.
“What they do in the summer, how they handle their business, how much improvement they make with understanding the playbook, dialing in with their throwing. Because in the summer they’re gonna be doing it on their own a lot,” Harbaugh said. “Four, five times a week. They’re grabbing receivers and honing and sharpening their craft.”