Ahead of IMG Academy's week one matchup against Venice (Fla.) High, new transfer into the school and Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy is already turning heads at practice.
Ari Allen is a senior running back and wide receiver for IMG, and he has worked closely with McCarthy over the past several weeks. During that time frame, McCarthy has already lived up to the billing of a five-star prospect and then some.
“We watch film everyday,” Allen told Wolverine Digest. “We are just in the film room like, 'Dang, how did he make that pass over a linebacker and then perfectly into the corner where it's just the wide receiver [who] can catch it?' I noticed that, and he can make every throw. The first week, I kind of underestimated him, and he threw the ball almost 80 yards. He is a very good athlete, and he can do everything really.”
According to SI All-American, McCarthy checks in as the No. 3 passer in the 2021 class, and he has reinforced that notion over the offseason. At the Elite 11 Finals, McCarthy acquitted himself well as a talented quarterback with all the tools and mental makeup necessary to succeed at the next level.
Though the Michigan commit did not win the competition, he shined through multiple drills and was considered the No. 2 player in attendance by SI All-American. In fact, McCarthy was praised for his ability to throw on the run time and time again. Now, Allen is seeing much of the same.
“That ball is on the money most of the time,” Allen said. “He can make any throw: overhand, side arm, sometimes he makes jumping throws. That ball is on the spot.”
In particular, Allen has found that his new quarterback not only has the football acumen to make the right reads but has the arm talent to deliver on what he's seeing downfield.
“Him setting his feet and then throwing it to the back side, and he threw it far too,” Allen said. “The timing of his throws when it's in cover two and I have to dig and it's right in that window... I can expect the ball to be there on the money. He is consistent.”
Before heading to IMG, McCarthy led Nazareth Academy to three consecutive trips to the Illinois state finals, winning the title one time. That type of sustained success is only possible with a calm, collected leader under center, and that is exactly what Allen has picked up from working with McCarthy so far.
“He has that mindset too, and he's a good leader,” Allen said. “He brings that juice every day, just trying to beat the defense. He hypes everybody else up, so he's a good leader. If we have a bad practice or anything like that, he'll take us aside and be like, 'We came here for a reason. Let's go out there and try to be great.'”
Greatness is exactly what has occupied the minds of McCarthy and Allen so far, and the pair are striving for a national championship this season. IMG will play multiple games on ESPN this year, so the entire country will have an opportunity to see what makes McCarthy such a hyped up recruit.
How excited are you for J.J. McCarthy to make it to Michigan? Do you think he can be the best quarterback of the Jim Harbaugh era? Let us know!