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J.J. McCarthy says he’s ‘bigger, stronger, faster’

McCarthy’s bulking up and looking forward to the 2023 season.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is 6-foot-3 with exceptional speed.

McCarthy played at under 200 pounds the first two years of his Michigan career, but that will be changing this year.

McCarthy told the media on Thursday afternoon that he’s gained weight this offseason with the help of strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert and others.

“I was playing at like 193 last year, now I’m around 207, 205,” McCarthy said. “Fluctuating in that range. Herb definitely did a good job and some outside influences for sure.”

The added weight should help McCarthy absorb hits better. McCarthy took big hits throughout the season, including many against Rutgers and Illinois. While McCarthy never stayed down for long and showed toughness and a high pain threshold, bulking up is the way to go.

“It’s helping with my growth,” McCarthy said. “Bigger, stronger, faster. Every single year, just trying to improve those areas of my game. I don’t know how it’s gonna improve it, but I know it’s gonna be for the better.”

It sounds like McCarthy’s ascension has been ongoing during spring ball — Michigan edge rusher Jaylen Harrell said that “J.J. is doing J.J. things well”, spinning out to evade pass rushers to do Patrick Mahomes stuff.

McCarthy was asked to give examples of what “J.J. things” are.

“Can’t plan for it, that’s what I’ll say. Unorthodox, but within the system. That’s something that I’ve had to learn over the years is playing within the system and letting those abilities come out when they need to.”

McCarthy rushed for 306 yards and five touchdowns last season. While McCarthy has a strong arm and has delivered plenty of ‘wow’ throws, there’s no denying his mobility is a big part of who he is as a quarterback. Whether he’s taking off to run or merely running to buy extra time to throw, McCarthy’s athleticism is a huge trait.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that McCarthy has “electric type of ability when he’s running with the football”. Yep, J.J. doing J.J. things.

Something else J.J. has been doing is embracing the fact he’s the bona fide starting quarterback and one of the biggest leaders on the team.

“It feels like everything’s in harmony. Being able to be solidified as the guy, it’s a complete honor. I’m happy that I’ve worked to get that position.”

McCarthy is “the guy”. A guy who will have a major say in whether Michigan wins a third-consecutive Big Ten Championship and makes the College Football Playoff for the third year in a row.