J.J. McCarthy Tapped Into Competitive Nature At Elite 11 Finals
Over the past three days, Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy worked out at the Elite 11, which is the highest stage possible for high school quarterbacks. Out of the 20 players in attendance, McCarthy consistently drew positive reviews, but uncommitted Washington (DC) Gonzaga quarterback Caleb Williams was named MVP by the Elite 11 coaching staff.
But unlike many other offseason camps, the Elite 11 features an off-field component that can be just as challenging for the rising senior prospects.
“I am extremely competitive and realized early on that this experience is so much more than just throwing a football,” McCarthy told Wolverine Digest. “Everyone wanted to walk away with MVP honors. I feel like being a part of this Elite 11 class makes all 20 quarterbacks MVPs.”
McCarthy, who is listed as the No. 5 quarterback according to Rivals.com, chose to fully embrace the competitive atmosphere at the camp.
“I didn't feel pressured at all throwing against these guys,” McCarthy said. “It's all a mindset. More excitement for me.”
From one rep to the next, McCarthy showed that he was eager to take part and volunteered to go first on numerous occasions. This desire to set the tone stood out to SI All-American, and McCarthy confirmed that he was looking to take constructive criticism from the Elite 11 coaching staff all camp long.
SI All-American had McCarthy listed as the No. 2 player in attendance after day three on Wednesday, and the U-M commit stressed that the overwhelming amount of encouragement he received from his fellow Michigan commits helped drive him to the top.
“To get that kind of support from my guys meant the world to me when I was at the Elite 11,” McCarthy said. “It just goes to show the kind of bond we are building before we even get to Ann Arbor.”
So far, Michigan has 18 pledges secured in the '21 cycle, and McCarthy helps set the group apart as a likely top five overall class. The Wolverines have two wide receivers in the fold-- three-star Clayton (Ohio) Northmont's Markus Allen and four-star Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei's Cristian Dixon-- and McCarthy couldn't be more enthused about his future teammates.
“Markus and Cristian are flat out studs,” McCarthy said. “We've been chopping it up as much as we can. I wish I could get some throwing sessions in with them. I love those guys.”
And while McCarthy has taken a vocal role as a recruiter for the Michigan program, that type of leadership and aggressiveness has rubbed off on the other '21 commits.
“The entire 2021 class at Michigan are all recruiting their butts off,” McCarthy said. “Since I was such an early commit, I've been in touch with a lot of guys, and I will do whatever it takes to win games at Michigan. Leadership comes easy when you have guys all buying in on the common goal.”
To be specific, McCarthy is hoping to that the Wolverines can close out the class with Rocco Spindler, Thomas Fidone, Rayshaun Benny and Donovan Edwards. Three of these recruits are in-state players, but all four have been receiving a full court press from McCarthy, and that is not expected to change any time soon.
Michigan has the opportunity to be selective with which commitments it takes since there are already 18 players in the fold, but these four recruits have stood as priorities at each of their respective positions for the whole '21 cycle.
Will Michigan be able to land each of those players? What did you think of J.J. McCarthy's performance at the Elite 11 Finals? Let us know!