Star Quarterback Calls it a Career After Delivering Long-Awaited Championship
ANN ARBOR, Michigan – In an emotional announcement on Sunday, star Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, foregoing his senior season with the Wolverines after leading the team to its first national championship in nearly three decades this past season.
McCarthy took over as the full-time starter this year after waiting behind Cade McNamara early on. Once McCarthy was handed the reins, there was no looking back, as his stellar play spearheaded Michigan’s dominate run through the Big Ten and into the College Football Playoff.
“These last 3 years at Michigan have been nothing short of spectacular,” McCarthy wrote in his draft declaration. “The memories I have made here will last a lifetime. From winning a Big Ten championship to winning the national championship and bringing it back home to the mitten where it belongs.”
Delivered on Massive Hype Coming Out of High School
McCarthy arrived at Michigan in 2021 as one of the highest rated quarterback prospects in years. He was named MVP of the 2020 All-American Bowl in high school and committed to the Wolverines under Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s promise to reinvent Michigan’s offense.
Harbaugh stayed true to his word, opening up the passing attack this season to properly utilize McCarthy’s strong arm and playmaking ability. After showing flashes of brilliance in a backup role last season, McCarthy left no doubt this year that he has all the tools to succeed in the NFL.
“McCarthy lived up to all expectations,” said CBS Sports draft analyst Tom Fornelli. “He has prototypical size at 6-foot-3 and possesses elite arm strength that will appeal to NFL scouts. We already knew he could extend and make plays with his legs. This year he showed improvement going through progressions and making throws into tight windows.”
Departure Leaves Massive Hole for Michigan
With McCarthy now headed to the NFL, Michigan has an enormous void to fill under center. There were rumblings that McCarthy could return for one more championship run, as Wolverine fans serenaded him with “one more year” chants as the team celebrated their national title back in Ann Arbor. But ultimately his long-held NFL aspirations won out.
Without an obvious heir apparent already on the roster, Michigan may need to pursue a quarterback out of the transfer portal. Some potential names suggested by analysts include Oregon’s Ty Thompson, South Carolina’s Luke Doty, and LSU’s Garrett Nussmeier.
No matter who takes over at quarterback, Harbaugh will have his work cut out sustaining the success McCarthy delivered this past season. But the Michigan head coach is firmly back in the good graces of Wolverines fans after years of scrutiny prior to bringing home the championship. He nearly left for the NFL himself this offseason, interviewing for the Chargers job, but ultimately decided to stay in Ann Arbor and see if he can capture lighting in a bottle again.
Projected 1st Round Pick in 2024 NFL Draft
As for McCarthy, most draft analysts expect him to come off the board early in the 1st round. His combination of size, athleticism and passing chops has garnered comparisons to players like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
No matter where he lands, McCarthy seems destined for NFL success. He has all the attributes necessary to run any scheme and flourish with talent around him. After acing his first big test and leading Michigan back to the promised land, McCarthy will now set out to conquer the pros. Wherever he goes, championships are sure to follow.
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