Jim Harbaugh has elite comparison for J.J. McCarthy

Do you we what Jim Harbaugh sees in J.J. McCarthy?

As the Michigan Wolverines celebrate the best two seasons of Jim Harbaugh‘s tenure, anticipation surrounds quarterback J.J. McCarthy as the team enters the 2023 season. After losing consecutively in the College Football Playoff semifinals, the Wolverines hope to change their fate with McCarthy's growing prowess. During his Big Ten Media Day presser, Harbaugh compared McCarthy to NFL QBs Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

Jim Harbaugh
J.J. McCarthy

Harbaugh, brimming with admiration for McCarthy, struggled to recall a better first-time starter during his Big Ten Media Day speech. Harbaugh described McCarthy as a “once-in-a-generational type of quarterback at Michigan” who continually strives to excel. Not only is his athletic performance and football-throwing abilities elite, but his dedication to his team and teammates sets him apart.

“I searched my memory for someone who has been a first-time starter and had a better first year as a first-time starter and I can't come up with one,” Harbaugh said. “He's a once-in-a-generational type of quarterback at Michigan. His progress continues to grow. Daily he's at the top of his game right now really in all aspects. Everything he does athletically, everything he does throwing the football are at the elite level. Then the thing that I think makes him the most special and that differentiates good and great is he's willing to do anything for his teammates and anything for his team.”

Harbaugh didn't shy away from comparing McCarthy to the crème de la crème of NFL quarterbacks, drawing parallels with Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Harbaugh attributes this comparison to the way these quarterbacks interact with and commit to their teammates, qualities he sees in McCarthy daily.

“I think there's some comparison to Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen … and I know there are others that have that level of talent-plus at the quarterback position to do anything for their team,” Harbaugh said. “I base that off of watching the way that Patrick Mahomes interacts with his teammates, what he says about his teammates and what they say about him. Josh Allen, what they say about him and about his teammates. That's what I see in J.J. McCarthy every single day.”

J.J. McCarthy Michigan Football Jim Harbaugh

Key Points

  • Jim Harbaugh praises J.J. McCarthy's performance, labels him a “once-in-a-generational type of quarterback.”
  • Harbaugh draws parallels between McCarthy's commitment to his team and the attitude of NFL greats Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
  • McCarthy ended the 2022 season with impressive stats and demonstrated significant potential despite some mishaps.

Bottom Line – The Rise of a New Star

With all eyes on him, J.J. McCarthy enters the 2023 season with the weight of comparison to NFL stars and the hope of an entire team on his shoulders. With a coach's faith and a team ready to support him, only the gridiron will tell if McCarthy is indeed the new generational talent, the torchbearer of the Mahomes and Allen legacy. Until then, the wait for the season's opening on Sept. 2 against East Carolina continues.


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