J.J. McCarthy Showcases Premier Talent At Elite 11 Finals

Eric Rutter

With Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy in the fold, many believe that Michigan may have the face of the program's future committed in the 2021 class. After spending three seasons at Nazareth Academy, McCarthy has solidified himself as one of the top arms in the '21 cycle, so his inclusion to the Elite 11 Finals was no surprise.

Surrounded by the top quarterbacks in the nation, McCarthy had the opportunity to stake his claim as the best passer in all of high school football. How did the Michigan pledge acquit himself? No better person to ask than Bogart (Ga.) Prince Avenue Christian School wide receiver Logan Johnson, who is a dynamic, sure-handed 2021 prospect that caught passes from McCarthy and the other Elite 11 finalists over the course of the past three days.

“There were some great guys out there this week at the quarterback position,” Johnson told Wolverine Digest. “Brock Vandagriff, JJ McCarthy, Carlos Del-Rio, and Caleb Williams are who really stood out to me as the top guys there. They had us running all kinds of routes and basically the whole route tree.”

Though Williams snagged MVP honors at the competition, McCarthy showed off his immense talent. On timing routes, the Michigan commit delivered on schedule footballs. When targeting the outside of the field, McCarthy put considerable zip on the football on account of his strong arm. And from drill to drill, McCarthy kept excelling in a variety of situations.

“J.J. is a great player and a great leader,” Johnson said. “His arm talent is off the charts, and his football IQ is up there as well. He is obviously one of the top QBs I have seen and been able to work with.”

Though the pair are from different high schools, Johnson has been able to work with McCarthy multiple times now as the two first built a friendship at an FBU Top Gun camp last year. As a result, Johnson has competed with McCarthy several times and has kept a watchful eye on the Michigan pledge's performance each time out.

“There was no particular throw that really caught my eye [at the Elite 11], but all of his off balance throws were always really good,” Johnson said. “It's awesome knowing that the ball is going to be placed where it needs to be almost every time, and J.J. did a great job of doing that.”

According to SI All-American, McCarthy was one of the top competitors at the event and ranked him as the No. 2 quarterback overall. McCarthy would have been the first Michigan commit to win the event if he had finished one spot higher, but his performance still checks in as the highest from a U-M pledge.

“The University of Michigan is getting a great one,” Johnson said.

By all accounts, McCarthy approached the competition with a business-like mentality, and his work ethic, leadership and ample skills shined through at the Elite 11 Finals with Johnson as the least surprised person there.

What are your thoughts on the Elite 11 Finals set up? Would you prefer to see live coverage as opposed to the made-for-TV documentary that comes out afterwards? Let us know! 

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