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Cade McNamara makes first public comments after transferring from Michigan to Iowa

McNamara held nothing back about leaving Michigan.

Colorado State v Michigan Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

In a wide reaching interview on The Room podcast with Jordan Palmer and Kyle Allen, former Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara made his first public comments on his transfer to Iowa earlier this month.

McNamara called the 2021 and 2022 seasons the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, shedding light on what led to him entering the transfer portal.

“It’s probably been my highest high and lowest low within a 12-month period, which is kinda crazy,” McNamara said. “I thought a low was my redshirt freshman year and then here I am with just a completely new perspective.”

With “meritocracy” being the pulse of head coach Jim Harbaugh’s fall camp every year, McNamara knew his starting job wasn’t secured despite J.J McCarthy not participating in spring ball due to his shoulder injury at the time. As fall camp neared it’s end, Harbaugh made a decision he never had before, one that McNamara was caught off guard by.

“I was well aware there was going to be competition, that’s just how coach Harbaugh has always stated it. That’s how he’s always treated it, and that’s fine with me,” McNamara said. “Then the day after I get voted captain, coach Harbaugh tells the team that Michigan has two starting quarterbacks and we’re going to be splitting games — I have the first game and he has the second game. Some stuff is going on, talk around the team stuff, some stuff that I just won’t get into.”

The rest, as they say, is history. While McNamara looked good in his start against Colorado State, McCarthy wowed against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, resulting in Harbaugh naming McCarthy the full-time starter. McNamara still appeared in the final non-conference game against UConn, but suffered a knee injury in the final moments of the first half.

McNamara alleges the response to this injury was mismanaged.

“I didn’t know this until my MCL was messed up that I tore my patellar halfway through the season last year, actually against Michigan State,” McNamara said. “That’s a whole story in itself. I was able to go back and look at the MRI results from the year before, and it showed torn patellar tendon on there.

“Thankfully I got (a medical second opinion) this time, because they were asking me to go back onto the field this year and they actually told me ‘we think you’re ready, you should start practicing.’ I was advised not to get the surgery, and then I came out to L.A. for (Dr. Neal ElAttrache) to look at it and he was astonished.”

Though McNamara didn’t make any claims of the NIL opportunities at Michigan affecting his decision to transfer, he has no love lost for what he calls an unorganized situation.

“Thinking about Michigan, they have the biggest alumni in the country. Why wouldn’t their players be making more than everyone else,” McNamara said. “Schools like Nebraska and Iowa has a great collection. There’s these groups that’s guaranteeing guys a certain amount of money just for being on the team, and that can be anyone, a walk-on, anyone can get that half of the collective. And then there’s schools like Michigan where there’s not much organized at all.”

McNamara has committed to the Iowa Hawkeyes as a transfer for the 2023 season.