Shortly after signing his letter of intent to play football at the University of Michigan, JJ McCarthy was asked about the future for the Michigan Football program and specifically for the 2021 class.
“National championships come...that’s the future.”
And with that, the highly-rated quarterback out of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy put the entire Michigan Football world on his shoulders.
Before Michigan has any shot at a national championship, they’ll first need to find a way to get past the Ohio State Buckeyes - something that has occurred just twice during McCarthy’s lifetime. The Wolverines will also need to find a way to capture a Big Ten championship, something the program has done just three times since the year 2000 - the last coming in 2004. As far as championships go, McCarthy hadn’t yet been born when Michigan captured its last national title in 1998 against the Washington State Cougars.
While jaded Michigan fans will likely roll their eyes and shake their heads at a statement like this, McCarthy is doing what many within the fan base have been begging the leaders of this football program to do for years - he's setting the bar high. It doesn’t get any higher than winning a national championship, particularly for a Wolverine program that seems a long ways off from legitimately competing with the likes of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. McCarthy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem content with the idea that Michigan doesn’t belong on college football’s biggest stage. He also has no problem being vocal about it.
It’s understandable for McCarthy to feel extremely confident about the future possibilities of the new 2021 class. Once again, Michigan was able to haul in the No. 2 rated class within the Big Ten, including its two big fish in Donovan Edwards and Xavier Worthy. Michigan still has needs to fill, but the overall roster is more than capable of legitimately competing for conference championships year in and year out. Michigan is due for a breakthrough year sooner or later and McCarthy appears fully intent on being the guy who delivers it.
As is often the case, a new generation of Wolverines arrive hopeful and eager to build their legacy. They arrive hungry to leave their mark on one of college football’s blue blood programs. They arrive intent on accomplishing what few before them have been able to accomplish. For McCarthy and company, the real hard part comes next - delivering.