After leading the Michigan Wolverines to a Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff berth in 2022, J.J. McCarthy is starting to earn his flowers.
The junior quarterback has a bunch of hype heading into the fall, and national outlets are starting to take notice. 247Sports ranked all the projected starting quarterbacks in the Big Ten this season, and McCarthy’s name came at the top of the list:
“This offense should be a well-oiled machine on the ground with Blake Corum returning and will only ask McCarthy to do what he has to in the passing game. He’s a threat with his legs as well. McCarthy accounted for 27 total touchdowns this season and will enter the 2023 campaign with a chip on his shoulder after leading the Wolverines to 13-straight wins prior to an upset loss to TCU in the playoff. And this time around, there’s no McNamara behind him after the former Michigan signal caller transferred to Iowa.”
This kind of pressure has been on McCarthy’s shoulders since day one. Ever since he announced his commitment to the University of Michigan, many have said he would be the savior of this program. It came a year early with him as a backup, but Michigan finally knocked Ohio State off its pedestal.
Then they faced a better Buckeye squad in 2022, and McCarthy helped prove the win a year before was not fake. He had a brilliant performance, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns. It wasn’t perfect, but he stepped up in the moments that mattered.
Speaking of Ohio State, it will break in a new quarterback this season. Many expect it will be Kyle McCord, a former five-star from the same recruiting class as McCarthy. According to 247Sports, McCord comes in as the No. 4 quarterback in the conference:
“More or less a projected spot here for McCord, whom we expect to beat out Devin Brown for Ohio State’s QB1 job, Ryan Day breeds excellence at the position for the Buckeyes. You know Ohio State’s starter is going to produce through the air given the wealth of talent surrounding him at wide receiver. The Buckeyes have two, potentially three future first-round picks as pass-catchers, which should make for a smooth transition in the post-C.J. Stroud era.”
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, former Wolverine Cade McNamara, who transferred to the Iowa Hawkeyes, is ranked at No. 6 on 247Sport’s list:
“McNamara sees his transfer to Iowa as a personal show-me moment, a chance to prove to others he’s got what it takes to win a Big Ten championship at another program. McNamara lost the starting job at Michigan to J.J. McCarthy at the beginning of the 2022 season. McNamara was the main starter for the Wolverines during their Big Ten championship run in 2021. McNamara finished the season completing 210-of-327 passes for 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns, and six interceptions. In the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game against Iowa, McNamara completed 16-of-24 passes for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.”
What do you think of these rankings? Do you think McCarthy is truly the best quarterback in the conference heading into the season?