The Michigan Wolverines have started the 2023 season 2-0, and their quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, is off to a great start to the season as he has led this team to a 32.5 PPG average of 58th in the country. He has been starting to be compared to other great college quarterbacks, with a CBS College Sports analyst comparing him to Joe Burrow, who in 2019 led the LSU Tigers to a national championship with an undefeated season. On top of that, this week, his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, compared him to former Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck, who never won a National Championship but finished second in the Heisman Voting in 2010 and 2011.
JJ McCarthy Comparisons
I know it's early in the 2023 season, but J.J. McCarthy has had great composer during his college career. In his Junior year, he played in 11 games in 2021 during his first year, and he finished 34 for 59 with a completion percentage of 57.6 percent and 516 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. In his sophomore season, he played in all 14 of Michigan's games, finishing with 208 completions on 322 attempts for a 64.6 completion percentage; he had 2,719 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.
This season, through the first two weeks of the season, he Is 48 for 55 with an 87.3 completion percentage and 558 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Breaking it down on averages, playing the minimum number of games, which would be 12, J.J. McCarthy is on pace to throw for 3,348 yards with 30 touchdowns and zero interceptions; we know he is going to throw an interception at some point, most likely, but those numbers are outstanding so how do that breakdown to the two names he is being compared to?
Joe Burrow started his college career at Ohio State but, over two years, played in only ten games, completing 29 passes on 39 attempts for a 74.4 completion percentage, and he had 287 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. In 2018, he transferred to LSU, where he played in 13 games, completing 219 of his 379 pass attempts for a 57.8 completion percentage and threw for 2,894 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
In 2019, it all clicked for Burrow as he played in 15 games, completing 402 passes out of his 527 attempts and had a completion percentage of 76.3; he threw for 5,671 yards with 60 touchdowns (which was the record until 2021 when Bailey Zappe broke it) and six interceptions en route to an undefeated season and a National Championship which led to Burrow being drafted first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Andrew Luck played all three seasons of his college career with Stanford. In his freshman season, he played in 12 games for the Cardinals, completing 162 passes on 288 attempts for a 56.3 completion percentage, and he had 2,575 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. In his sophomore season, things started to click for Luck as he played in 13 games, completing 263 passes of his 372 attempts for 3,338 yards and 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
In 2011, his final college season, he again played in 13 games, completing 288 passes out of his 404 attempts for a 71.3 completion percentage with 3,517 yards, 37 touchdowns, and ten interceptions. Luck would be drafted first overall in the 2012 draft by the Indianapolis Colts but ultimately would retire after seven seasons due to injuries.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Michigan has started the season 2-0 with wins over East Carolina and UNLV.
- Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has been drawing comparisons to Joe Burrow and Andrew Luck.
- A CBS College Sports Analyst compared him to Burrow, and Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh compared him to Luck.
Bottom Line: Can J.J. McCarthy live up to the hype
Michigan Wolverines Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has former NFL head coach Dave Wannstedt, who is now an analyst for the Big Ten Network, calling him a “once-in-a-generation” quarterback. An NFL Draft analyst, Mike Renner, is also in awe of the quarterback MccArthy is currently on the CBS Sports mock draft as the third quarterback taken in next year's draft at the eighth pick going to Tampa Bay. There is a lot of football left to be played by McCarthy in 2023, but he could indeed live up to the hype of the names mentioned. He could also find himself in New York, potentially taking home a Heisman trophy and hopefully leading Michigan to its first National Championship victory since 1997.