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How J.J. McCarthy’s in ‘command’ with ‘bravado’

2023 could be a special year for McCarthy and Michigan Football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 Big 10 Championship - Michigan vs Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore has known starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy since he was a freshman in high school.

“We’ve always been close-knit,” Moore told the media this week. “We were super close last year and it’s just grown and grown and grown every day.”

Part of what has made that relationship rewarding is Moore getting an up-and-close look at how McCarthy has grown as a player and a person.

“To watch him and his progression, his confidence after being a full-year starter has been something really cool to see. You can just see his confidence. You can see his bravado, you can see how he carries himself. The control, the command of everything he has in the offense. It’s turned up to that next level you think it would. Excited to see him keep progressing, keep growing.”

McCarthy is entering his third season at Michigan. Last season he took the reins as the starting quarterback in Week 2 and never looked back.

“I look at J.J.’s first whole first season as a starter and all the things he faced. Good, bad, cheered, booed, hit, run, throw — everything he did, it’s about as good as you could be.” head coach Jim Harbaugh said in February. “As a first-year starter, no question about it. I don’t think anybody’s ever seen anything, I haven’t seen anything like that. First-year starting quarterback, 13-0 on Christmas. We’ve never been undefeated at Christmas.”

Wideout Roman Wilson noted last month that McCarthy seems more confident and comfortable.

“He’s making a lot of big-time plays, big-time throws,” Wilson said. “He looks a lot better right now than he did last spring.”

McCarthy has matured as a leader and his physique has matured as well. McCarthy played last season around 193 pounds, right now he’s hovering around 205-207.

“It’s helping with my growth,” McCarthy said. “Bigger, stronger, faster. Every single year, just trying to improve those areas of my game.”

Harbaugh says McCarthy has all the physical and athletic abilities you would want in a quarterback. Those are great traits to have, but what Harbaugh feels separates McCarthy from many of his peers is his unselfishness.

“The rare thing is that he would sacrifice anything for any player on this team. Personally, he’s just so willing to do whatever is best for the team. I would follow him anywhere happily. I suggest that all players on our team do the same thing. He’s just really, really good at it. As far as anything you tell him, any coaching point that you give, he absorbs it and will make the correction immediately. It’s tremendous.”

Transfer quarterback Jack Tuttle recently shared similar comments about McCarthy and his aura.

“Most people would kind of look at a guy like J.J., quarterback, big-time guy, they might think he’s arrogant or something. That dude is the most down-to-earth person,” Tuttle said. “I can’t say this enough — a great human being, great football player. I love being around him.”

A great human being, a great football player — who’s looking to take his play and his team to new heights in 2023.