The Wolverine

February 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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46 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2021 BY EJ HOLLAND M ichigan signees J.J. McCarthy and Junior Colson were named the Pylon 7-on-7 Quarterback and Linebacker of the Year, respectively. The awards are presented annually to the best players at each position that participated in a Pylon 7-on-7 tournament. McCarthy took home the Quarter- back of the Year award over North Carolina signee Drake Maye, Hawaii signee Brayden Schager and Wake Forest signee Santino Marucci. Col- son earned the Linebacker of the Year award over USC signee Raesjon Da- vis, Arizona State signee Jaydon Wil- liams and Nebraska signee Wynden Ho'ohuli. McCarthy, the nation's No. 4 pro- style quarterback and No. 41 overall prospect per, is coming off a fantastic season at national power- house Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy. In his lone year with the program, McCarthy passed for 1,440 yards and 16 touchdowns with no inter- ceptions in six games. He also added 104 yards and a score on the ground, and guided IMG to an undefeated record and a No. 1 overall ranking in the country, per MaxPreps. Prior to transferring to IMG, Mc- Carthy passed for 6,268 yards and 73 touchdowns, and led La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy to a state title in his two years as its starting quarterback. Colson,'s No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 94 overall prospect nationally, battled through a minor shoulder injury during his senior year, but still registered 101 tackles and seven sacks in eight games en route to leading Brentwood (Tenn.) Raven- wood to an appearance in the second round of the Tennessee state playoffs. He recorded 34 tackles as a sopho- more — his first year playing line- backer — and exploded onto the scene as a junior, notching an eye- popping 175 total stops, including 30 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. Both Colson and McCarthy signed with Michigan in December and en- rolled early. They participated in the inaugural Pylon 7-on-7 All-American Game in January at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. PYLON COACHES BREAK DOWN MICHIGAN SIGNEES Three Michigan signees took part in the inaugural Pylon All-American Game before making their way to Ann Arbor as early enrollees. Rivals100 quarterback J.J. McCar- thy had the best game showing of the trio, completing 15 of 20 passes with four touchdowns in a near-flawless performance. Team Stripes quarterback coach Bryan Leonard, a Dallas-based 7-on-7 coach, worked with McCar- thy throughout the event and came away extremely impressed with his abilities. "He's a great kid with a great atti- tude," Leonard said. "You can tell he loves the game. He's got a rocket for an arm. He has a lot of moxie at the quarterback position, and that's what you're going to need. "He's a great leader. He can get along with anybody. I feel like he's going to do great at the next level for Michigan. I think they got their quarterback of the future. "He has tremendous arm talent. He's a great leader. He has really good ball placement. He can read the defense. And like I said, he has the moxie. He really plays that part well." Team Stripes head coach J.R. Niklos, a Chicago-based 7-on-7 coach and for- mer NFL fullback, has coached Mc- Carthy for years through the Midwest Boom 7-on-7 program. The two recon- nected in Dallas, and Niklos couldn't have been more impressed with Mc- Carthy's performance. "J.J. played lights out," Niklos said. "For us to be able to come together for a three-hour practice and to ex- ecute the way we did with J.J. at the helm is impressive. It shows you his leadership. It shows you his vision. "Not a lot of quarterbacks can do that. We had some quarterback trou- bles [with other players]. That speaks volumes of his expertise of the game. He executed flawlessly." Rivals100 linebacker Junior Colson also had a strong showing through- out the weekend. Colson didn't see much action come his way as he controlled the middle of the field from his line- backer spot during the game, but he had one of the more athletic plays at practice — an interception off a ball he tipped — and immediately caught the attention of Team Stripes defen- sive coordinator Lawrence Hatchett, a Dallas-based trainer and the Pylon 7-on-7 Coach of the Year. "He's very physical," Hatch- ett said. "He's underratedly fast. I thought he was a true linebacker un- til I found out his 40 time is a 4.48. His butt can move. What I love is that he learned the coverage and the scheme on the fly and it looked the way it looked in the game. "I'm very impressed. Whatever he's doing in the offseason, he's doing a great job of it because he looked great." Niklos also came away impressed with Colson. "I love him," Niklos said. "I was a little nervous when I saw linebackers MICHIGAN RECRUITING J.J. McCarthy And Junior Colson Earn Awards McCarthy, the nation's No. 4 pro- style quarterback and No. 41 overall prospect per, received the Pylon 7-on-7 Quarterback of the Year award. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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