How J.J. McCarthy’s game has changed since high school
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If anyone has a good idea of what J.J. McCarthy is capable of, it’s Michigan football wide receiver Tyler Morris.
Morris was teammates with McCarthy through McCarthy’s junior year of high school at Nazareth Academy in Illinois, before the quarterback transferred to the illustrious IMG Academy in Florida. The connection they had in high school likely helped get Morris to Michigan, as McCarthy committed to the Wolverines before he transferred south.
McCarthy is still developing. Last year was his first as a starter at the college level. So, what has Morris seen from the third-year signal-caller and where has he seen the most growth from him since they initially played together?
“With anybody, I feel like you get to college, and it’s just really learning the game,” Morris said. “High school was kinda — he was good, he was able to do whatever he wanted. Now, I mean, he’s still really good, but it’s kind of just learning the details on how to read a defense for real, learn how to think through things and just different situations. So I feel like he’s kind of just come a little more just calculated, and really thinking through what he’s doing.”
Is there anything that McCarthy does now that surprises him? Given his penchant to make what many Michigan players call ‘Patrick Mahomes plays,’ there has to be something that particularly stands out.
Oddly enough, Morris says he never saw McCarthy run so much in the backfield to keep plays alive the way he does now. Though that would be thought of as an element of Mahomes-type plays, McCarthy’s ability in that area has grown since he and Morris played together in Illinois.
“Running. I joke with him a lot about that,” Morris said. “In high school, he ran a little bit, but he wasn’t scrambling like he is now. And I kind of joke with him, like, ‘Where was that when we was playing in high school?’ So that’s kind of our little joke.”
Fans will get a chance to see McCarthy and Morris connect on offense on April 1 at the annual spring game, which will start at 3 p.m. EDT at The Big House.
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