Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
Published 5:25 p.m. ET June 19, 2020 | Updated 6:49 p.m. ET June 19, 2020
Michigan 2021 QB commit J.J. McCarthy (La Grange Park, Ill.) does drills, including one borrowed from a play made by Aaron Rodgers, May 18, 2019.
Detroit Free Press
Now, the 2021 recruit has accepted an invitation to compete against 20 of the nation’s best signal-callers at the Elite 11 Finals from June 29-July 1 in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the ninth Wolverine to participate in the Elite 11 Finals since the event was founded in 1999.
“It’s something every quarterback has dreamed of since they were little,” McCarthy told the Free Press. “It’s awesome to be recognized as one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and it’s going to be a lot of fun competing.”
Others from U-M include Matt Gutierrez (2001), Clayton Richard (2002), Ryan Mallett (2006), Devin Gardner (2009), Brandon Peters (2015), Shea Patterson (2015), Dylan McCaffrey (2016) and Cade McNamara (2018).
Patterson won MVP of the competition in 2015 as an Ole Miss commit, but there’s never been a true Michigan pledge to come out on top. McCarthy humbly believes he’s going to change those fortunes.
“I know how hard I work,” he said. “I just can’t wait to compete against some of the best guys. It would be really nice if I was able to win, and I go in there expecting to perform really well.”
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was a member of the Elite 11’s 2005 class before he graduated high school and left for Georgia. Plenty of former members have ended up as NFL draft first-round picks: Tua Tagovailoa, Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff and Jameis Winston.
Once McCarthy gets to Ann Arbor as an early enrollee in January 2021, he’ll join McCaffrey and McNamara, two former Elite 11 Finalists. Both quarterbacks are competing for this season’s starting job with Joe Milton.
“It’s going to be a battle,” McCarthy said of when he gets to U-M. “All of the quarterbacks in that room are amazing quarterbacks and amazing humans. I’m going to go in there and do whatever I can to help Michigan win football games.”
At this year’s Elite 11 Finals, McCarthy will spend time with Kyle McCord, a five-star Ohio State commit since March 30, 2019. McCarthy is ranked No. 14 overall in the 2021 class by the 247Sports Composite; McCord is 14th-best in the country.
“We’re good friends right now,” McCord said of McCarthy in May, “but we’re definitely two competitive guys. If you go on any social media platform, they’re already comparing us. We know it’s all friendly right now, but we’re excited to compete against each other in the greatest rivalry in sports.”
McCarthy will compete against McCord, Jay Allen, Tyler Buchner (Notre Dame), Dematrius Davis Jr. (Auburn), Carlos Del Rio-Wilson (Florida), Kyron Drones (Baylor), Sam Huard (Washington), Grayson James, Maddox Kopp, Tyler Macon (Missouri), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Behren Morton (Texas Tech), Miller Moss (USC), Garrett Nussmeier (LSU), Kaidon Salter (Tennessee), Ty Thompson (Oregon), Brock Vandagriff (Georgia), Christian Veilleux (Penn State) and Caleb Williams.