J.J. McCarthy set to Represent Michigan in Elite 11 Finals

Eric Rutter

Later this week, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star quarterback J.J. McCarthy will test his ability against the upper echelon of quarterbacks across the country in the Elite 11 Finals, which is a competition designed to pit the nation's top passers against each other to see who comes out on top.

McCarthy, who has been committed to Michigan for well over a year, will compete against 19 other prospects in a series of challenges designed to separate the very good quarterbacks from the truly elite. Passers will be asked to break down game scenarios off the field before applying their knowledge in live testing situations. Typically, participants will throw a series of routes on air (without a defense), but a large portion of the event hinges on 7-on-7 play since it closely replicates in-game situations.

However, the physical component is only one aspect of the grading criteria for the Elite 11 coaches, which includes Trent Dilfer, Jordan Palmer and George Whitfield Jr. Together, these coaches will guide the quarterbacks through team-building competitions, conditioning drills and off-field development challenges to further evaluate the toughness and work ethic of each 2021 prospect.

In the lead up to this event, which is commonly referred to as the premier high school quarterback competition in the country, SI All-American's Zach Goodall delivered a write up of each player set to take the field in Nashville this week. Here is what Goodall had to say about Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy:


Pro-style quarterback transferring to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla) from Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, Illinois), the No. 1 football team in the nation, according to MaxPreps. Will enroll early at Michigan after graduating in December of this year. He received 35 total offers from multiple top-tier programs. Threw for 2,820 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, leading Nazareth to state title appearance three years in a row. Noted leader. Went from 6-foot-2, 183 pounds to 6-foot-3, 197 pounds since May of 2019. One of the consensus top-rated quarterbacks in the nation.

Film Scouting Report

Has an absolute hose for an arm and can use it effectively at any level of the field. Exceptionally accurate down the sidelines and across the deep-middle. Clean throwing mechanics with a compact release, keeps his feet active at the top of the drop and generates plenty of torque in his follow-through. Pro-style quarterback but can throw on the run, across his body, and off of his back foot with controlled velocity. Not much of a rushing threat, but agile and elusive escaping pressure. Lanky, will need to add weight before taking the field in college.

McCarthy will be the ninth quarterback associated with the Michigan program to compete in the Elite 11 Finals. Back in 2015, Shea Patterson actually took home Elite 11 MVP honors, but he was committed to Ole Miss at the time when he edged out Brandon Peters at the event. Outside of McCarthy, Michigan has been represented by: Matt Guitierrez (2001), Clayton Richard (2002), Ryan Mallett (2006), Devin Gardner (2009), Shea Patterson (2015), Brandon Peters (2015), Dylan McCaffrey (2016) and Cade McNamara (2018).

McCarthy is a pro-style quarterback who has a live arm and is physically capable of taking home MVP honors from his arm talent alone. However, McCarthy is a noted leader, as Goodall mentioned, that has taken his previous school Nazareth Academy to the state finals game in three consecutive seasons, so he tends to shine when the lights are brightest. And as the highest rated quarterback commit in the Jim Harbaugh era, McCarthy has an opportunity to turn in the best finish from a Michigan commit (Patterson not withstanding) in the 21 years of the event.

Do you think McCarthy can etch his name in Elite 11 history as the top quarterback to compete in the challenge this year? What would you most like to see out of McCarthy in this event from a gameplay standpoint? Let us know! 

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