A quarterback competition is brewing in Ann Arbor as Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy both hope to lay claim to the starting job under center ahead of the 2022 season. As of early June, Jim Harbaugh has yet to make a decision on which one will top the depth chart this fall.
The Wolverines coach addressed the ongoing competition in a Friday interview, explaining that both players are still in the running to land the starting gig.
“It’ll be competitive,” Harbaugh said in the interview. “The dynamic, I would say, would be competitive. … I’ll tell you the exact same thing I’d tell Cade or JJ or any other player on our team that’s competing for any position. Who’s going to play? The best player. How are we going to figure out who the best player is? They’re the ones that play the best.”
Harbaugh was also asked if he’d be open to having McNamara and McCarthy split snaps once the season begins.
“Those are the options—one guy, full-time or a combination of two guys playing. Evidenced by last year, we’ve done that. That’s possible,” Harbaugh said. “The possibilities will be the same for this year. It could be one starter, it could be one starter, one backup, it could be two guys that contribute and play, as well. We’ll see. No crystal ball on what takes place, but excited to throw the balls out there and let the guys compete.
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“The cool thing about it, though, here’s the cool thing with JJ and Cade—it’s competitive, but it’s not combative. Two guys that play the same position that are on the same team. Everything that I’ve noticed is they’ve got each other’s backs and they’ve got the team’s back.”
McNamara, a rising senior, led the Wolverines for most of the 2021 season in which Michigan claimed a Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff. He threw for 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Although McNamara provided consistent play under center, McCarthy provided Harbaugh and the Wolverines with versatility at the position. As a freshman, he racked up 516 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, while also tacking on 124 yards on the ground.
Harbaugh still has plenty of time to make a decision about who will line up at quarterback to start the season. Michigan kicks off their 2022 campaign against Colorado State on Sept. 3.
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