SI All-American Ranks J.J. McCarthy Second Best QB
After three days of competition, the Elite 11 Finals wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon, and J.J. McCarthy capped off the event with a strong showing in the Accuracy Gauntlet. The Elite 11 coaches had McCarthy placed at No. 9 entering the third day, so the Michigan commit needed to make up some ground to place in the overall MVP race. Alas, Washington (DC) Gonzaga's Caleb Williams walked away with MVP honors.
So, where did McCarthy wind up? According to the trio of John Garcia Jr., Zach Goodall and Brooks Austin at SI All-American, the Michigan pledge was towards the top of the group each step of the way and ultimately finished as the No. 2 quarterback in attendance.
Entering the competition, McCarthy ranked as the No. 5 player in the country according to Rivals.com, though it is no doubt that he was gunning to take home the overall MVP award. Elite 11 Finals coach Trent Dilfer mentioned that 2019 film weighed as 75% of the overall decision, so that is one factor to take into consideration as well.
But according to Goodall, McCarthy lived up to his billing as a premier passer with a wealth of talent.
“McCarthy looked as good as I expected, and I had high expectations,” Goodall told Wolverine Digest. “Coming in it was clear on tape that he could make every throw on the field and he proved that in an uber-competitive atmosphere. His feet were active and timing was great on most of his throws.”
During the Elite 11, coaches are able to really cut through the fray and see which player wants to be named the top dog since the finals are only limited to 20 quarterbacks out of the entire rising senior class. That said, McCarthy really rose to the occasion when battling against the cream of the crop.
“He’s icey,” Goodall said. “These challenges were not made to be easy, especially the accuracy gauntlet and the pro day workout was no joke either. Yet, McCarthy was cool, calm, and collected during the entire event and carried swagger through his reps. He graded out as a top QB in both drills.”
Goodall noted that McCarthy elected to be the first quarterback to compete through a series of drills, a fact that highlights his overall tenacious desire to set the tone as a group leader. In particular, Goodall considered the entire three-day competition and recalled one rep in specific that truly set the Michigan commit apart from his peers and left a lasting impression.
“His throw on a whip route during the pro day drill was perfect,” Goodall said. “Footwork through his drop was active and precise, the roll-out simulating pressure was quick and McCarthy let the ball rip off-platform - placing its perfectly outside of the left numbers where only the receiver (in a hypothetical defended situation) could make a play.”
To support that assertion, 2021 Bogart (Ga.) Prince Avenue Christian School wide receiver Logan Johnson caught passes from the Elite 11 quarterbacks each day, and Johnson concurred, stressing that McCarthy really shined when throwing on the move and in unconventional situations.
Though he did not walk away with the overall MVP nod, McCarthy showed that he grades out as high as any quarterback in the 2021 class. McCarthy took each opportunity to seize pressure moments, and that innate quality is something that embodies the approach that the future Michigan quarterback takes to the game.
What do you think of SI All-American's assessment of McCarthy's performance? Do you feel that he represented the Wolverines well in the camp setting? Let us know!