The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2020 THE WOLVERINE 39 BY EJ HOLLAND R ivals100 quarterback J.J. McCarthy made a statement at the Elite 11 Fi- nals, the most prominent quarterback competition in the country. The four-star Michigan commit from Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy was a top performer on all three days of the event and secured his spot on the prestigious Elite 11 list for 2020. "It was an awesome experience to build these relationships with all these amazing quarterbacks," Mc- Carthy said. "To be able to learn so much mentally and with emotional intelligence meant a lot. It was really eye opening and really beneficial." This year 's event took place in Nashville and featured 20 signal- callers from around the nation, but only 11 were named the Elite 11. Mc- Carthy was one of them after he dis- played elite-level arm talent and ac- curacy throughout the competition. Still, the 6-2, 195-pounder was his own biggest critic following the event. "I don't think I performed the best that I could and to what my poten- tial is," he said. "But I learned a lot. In order to succeed, you have to fail sometimes. It's all about putting the pads on. It's always great throwing in shorts and a T-shirt. "When you look at [NFL great] Tom Brady, [No. 1 NFL Draft pick] Joe Burrow and all those guys, they didn't even make it here. It's just the mentality of moving forward, getting past this and focusing on the next step." McCarthy will now head to Cali- fornia for a family vacation before embarking on his journey at IMG Academy in a couple weeks. The na- tion's No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 33 overall prospect will then enroll early at Michigan and arrive in Ann Arbor in January. He expects to take what he learned through his Elite 11 experience to his new high school in Florida and beyond. "Just the whole mentality that was brought into this, the confidence level and everything I've learned with my platform, I want to make a big difference in this world," McCar- thy said. "That's something I'll bring to IMG and Michigan. Those are two national brands with big fan bases that are well known. "That'll be a good way to make this world a better place." SUPER BOWL QB TRENT DILFER TALKS MCCARTHY J.J. McCarthy was one of the more consistent quarterbacks at this year's Elite 11 Finals. The Rivals100 Michigan quarter- back commit shined on day one, fin- ished in the top 10 for the "pro day" workout on day two and closed out the competition with another top-10 finish in the "target challenge" event. Elite 11 head coach and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer was impressed enough with McCarthy's performance to name him a member of this year's Elite 11 class. "J.J. was really good," Dilfer said. "He always does the right thing. He saves you when bad things happen on the football field. He had a really, really good week." Dilfer, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in January 2001, admitted after the event that results would be based 75 percent on junior film and 25 percent on the ac- tual competition at the Elite 11 Finals. Dilfer was high on McCarthy's tape coming into the event and added that the Michigan commit's "twitch" re- ally caught his attention in Nashville this week. "I really like J.J.," Dilfer said. "I like his twitch. He's wiry. He's twitchy. It's like his hair is on fire. I like that. He's got a ton of talent. "… His body is super twitchy. He's doing those 360 jump passes that I've never seen anybody do before. He's always bouncing off the walls. His feet are always moving. He's got a lot of energy, which I like." Along with his natural ability, Mc- Carthy displayed a willingness to learn, always asking for extra coach- ing. He also led his group through- out the event and made sure to pose for photos with kids after it. The intangibles are what make Mc- Carthy special, and Dilfer took notice of them throughout the week. "He's a really engaging kid," the former first-round pick and 14-year NFL veteran concluded. "He's a re- ally genuine kid. What he's been fired up most about is starting the foundation. That goes a long way for me — his engagement not just with his fellow campers, but also with the people we bring in to help them out. "… He's charismatic. He's engag- ing. When he looks you in the eye, he stares through you. He wants to get more. He gives that presence off." SCOUTING REPORTS FROM ESPN OHIO CAMP The Wolverine was in Columbus in early July for ESPN's Ohio Un- derclassmen Camp, which featured several Michigan targets in the 2022, 2023 and 2024 classes. Here are our thoughts on each Michigan recruit with an offer from his time at the camp. Players are ranked from best performance to worst: 1. 2022 DT Derek Shepard, Ket- tering (Ohio) Archbishop Alter — Shepard moved extremely well for his size. At 6-3, 310 pounds, he is MICHIGAN RECRUITING J.J. McCarthy Shines At Elite 11 Finals Four-star Michigan pledge J.J. McCarthy was one of 20 prep quarterbacks to be invited to the Elite 11 Finals, and he per- formed well enough there to be named a finalist for this year's class. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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