May 26, 2024

McCarthy, who secured the 10th position in the Heisman Trophy rankings last season, didn’t amass eye-popping passing statistics, given Michigan’s run-heavy approach. Nevertheless, he maintained a low interception count (nine in the last 29 games over two seasons) and displayed prowess in crucial moments, even performing without his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, during two separate three-game suspensions this season.

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In Michigan’s challenging four-game journey to the championship, facing Ohio State, Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game, and Alabama and Washington in the College Football Playoff, McCarthy showcased his skills. He completed 68.4% of his passes, accumulating 656 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Notably, he delivered a crucial touchdown pass during the late fourth-quarter drive that tied the game against the Crimson Tide.

Turning 21 on January 20, McCarthy is a tall, slender, and athletically gifted quarterback who excels on the move. While he has improved his decision-making in the pocket over the past two seasons, he demonstrates versatility by throwing from different platforms and arm angles to cover the entire field.

Despite his ability to make spectacular, challenging throws, McCarthy occasionally misses more straightforward opportunities and is still refining his touch and feel as a passer. Given Michigan’s potent run game, he hasn’t often been required to win games, and his playing style draws comparisons to Ryan Tannehill and Geno Smith.

McCarthy, initially a highly-touted recruit, chose the Wolverines but saw limited action as a true freshman. In 2021, while backing up McNamara, he posted 34 completions on 59 attempts for 516 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions, also rushing for two scores. Earning the starting role in 2022, McCarthy completed 208 of 322 passes (64.6%) for 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions, adding five rushing touchdowns and a two-point conversion. However, the Wolverines fell short in the playoff semifinals against TCU.

In 2023, McCarthy led Michigan to an undefeated regular season and secured a third consecutive victory over Ohio State, breaking an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry. He clinched the long-awaited national title, completing 240 of 332 passes (72.3%) for 2,991 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only four interceptions — three of which occurred in an early-season victory over Bowling Green.

If selected in the draft, McCarthy would be the first Michigan quarterback chosen since Jake Rudock in 2016. As a third-year junior, McCarthy, being an underclassman, has until Monday to submit a petition to the league for special eligibility.

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