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Thursday Recruiting Roundup: J.J. McCarthy impresses at Elite 11 Finals

The five-star Michigan commit performed very well this week at the annual competition.

EJ Holland — The Wolverine

Hey everybody, and welcome to another Michigan Recruiting Roundup!

We’ve got updates today on a handful of recruits in the 2021 class, but today we start with the most important player already committed to the Wolverines.

McCarthy proves five-star ranking at Elite 11 Finals

In case you missed our Future Brew this week, I got the chance to speak with J.J. McCarthy, the five-star quarterback and crown jewel of Michigan’s 2021 class. We briefly talked about what it meant to him to be invited to the Elite 11 Finals in Nashville. The competition is now over, and early feedback looks like he balled out.

Of the reports I’ve read online, he was a consensus top five performer during the first day of the competition, whereas the top two seemed to be five-star Caleb Williams and four-star Ty Thompson. EJ Holland from The Wolverine, who was kind enough to let us use his photo of McCarthy from the competition for this article, gave a nice video breakdown of how well McCarthy competed during Day 1.

Day 2 involved NFL Pro Day workouts, and McCarthy continued to impress, specifically with his ability to hit intermediate routes and throwing on the move, according to SI’s John Garcia Jr, who ranked him the second-best quarterback on Tuesday.

Despite Garcia Jr.’s higher score, the Elite 11 evaluators gave McCarthy a score of 34 for his Day 2 performance. Ohio State’s Kyle McCord was the best performer with a 45.

Usually on Day 3, participants go through a 7-on-7 drill. This year, due to the pandemic, they did a target challenge instead. McCarthy finished with a time of 2:50, which was good for sixth overall. Finishing with the No. 1 spot in this challenge was Georgia commit Brock Vandagriff, with an insane time of 1:43.

Overall, it was a solid showing for the longtime Michigan commit. He will likely stay right around where he is currently ranked on the composite (No. 14 overall) and remain a five-star for the duration of the cycle.

Four-star DT slated to visit U-M soon

Earlier this week, we gave an update on four-star defensive lineman Rayshaun Benny visiting campus this weekend, and how he is one of the top remaining defensive line targets in the 2021 class. Well now it appears the other top target for Michigan along the defensive line is also set to visit campus soon, as The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich ($) reports four-star defensive tackle George Rooks will be visiting either this weekend or next weekend.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder from Jersey City, New Jersey has visited campus before and has been a longtime target for Shaun Nua and company. Despite the connections to New Jersey not being as strong as it once was when Chris Partridge and Anthony Campanile were in Ann Arbor, Rooks still has strong interest in Michigan.

This visit will go a long way if it does come to fruition in the next week or two. Just like I said about Benny a few days ago, despite Rooks not being able to see coaches or personnel up close, this is still a huge development in this recruitment. With spots being filled quickly, especially on the defensive line, I could see one or both of these guys committing sooner rather than later, if all goes well on these trips.

The school Michigan will have to fight off the most in this recruitment is Syracuse, which is where his father played football.

More safeties hearing from U-M

It really appears the Michigan coaching staff is looking to add one or two more versatile players to its defensive backfield in the 2021 class. As TMI’s Marich reports ($), safeties coach Bob Shoop was set to speak with three-star Daymon David, four-star Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, three-star Notre Dame commit Justin Walters and three-star Jaden Slocum at some point this week.

David is the lowest ranked of the four, but perhaps the one Michigan is going after the hardest. Shoop offered him a scholarship not long before Michigan missed the cut for three-star Donovan McMillon, so the coaching staff’s interest in David is not a direct correlation to missing on McMillon. Shoop has increased communication with him, so don’t be surprised to hear more about David down the stretch.

Mokiao-Atimalala is a guy we’ve talked about before on Maize n Brew, and a guy the staff is recruiting to potentially play both defensive back and wide receiver at the next level. He confirmed with Maize n Brew he continues to hear from the coaching staff weekly, so he is definitely an option the staff is looking closely at.

Walters and Slocum seem the least likely to join the fold at the moment. As mentioned previously, Walters is already committed to the Fighting Irish, so it’ll take a lot of work to pry him away from them. Slocum, meanwhile, has a national offer sheet from schools like Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, USC and more.

That’s all for this week! Come back Tuesday for another edition of the roundup.