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Trieu: Harbaugh connection helped Michigan land QB Cade McNamara

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News

Cade McNamara has started at quarterback for Reno (Nev.) Damonte Ranch since his freshman year.

In his first ever start on the varsity, he completed 12-of-15 passes in a 42-7 win. That first season, McNamara threw for 2,042 yards and 17 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. There were signs that he would potentially be a heavily recruited kid.

His sophomore year was a monumental leap and cemented his status as a national recruit. McNamara passed for 3,577 yards and 46 touchdowns. After a junior season in which he threw for 44 more touchdowns to only 8 interceptions, he is now rated as a four-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.

Michigan was happy to add his talent to their 2019 recruiting class this month.

McNamara committed to Notre Dame last July, but moved off of it in early March after multiple other programs offered scholarships. Despite the presence of offers from USC, Alabama, Georgia, and more, the Wolverines secured his verbal commitment.

“Michigan was a big offer for me because I grew up watching Jim Harbaugh when he coached at Stanford and with the 49ers,” McNamara said. “My quarterback coach Jordan Palmer knows him really well so it’s pretty cool to hear from him.”

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While his statistics speak for themselves, his high school head coach Shawn Dupris believes his success is about much more than just purely throwing the football.

“One of the biggest things about Cade is obviously he’s gifted athletically but Cade is a competitor,” Durpis told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “He’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around in 20 years of coaching. He believes that he can do everything and he expects everything he wants to do and what we want to do as a team to happen. The people around him, he brings their level up, he expects their work ethic and hard work to match his.”

At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, McNamara is not as big as the towering quarterbacks Michigan has signed recently with 6-foot-5 Joe Milton and Dylan McCaffrey, but he does bring many of the same tools otherwise that the Wolverines have looked for in signal callers.

“He has a strong arm and can dissect defenses from the pocket, but he's capable of hitting receivers in stride when rolling out as well,” 247Sports analyst Blair Angulo said. “He's tremendously effective on throws to the perimeter and fits passes into tight windows over the middle.”

Angulo also echoed Dupris’ comments about McNamara’s intangibles.

“His leadership qualities inside the huddle and on the sideline make McNamara an even bigger coup, especially considering that he shows a great understanding of offensive concepts,” he said.

Michigan is still looking to take a second quarterback with Paul Tyson, Graham Mertz, Sam Johnson and others among the names still being pursued.

McNamara’s addition improves a class already ranked in the top five in the country, and regardless of what else Michigan adds at the position, gives them another talented arm in their quarterback room.

“The arm talent is there for McNamara to be a very effective quarterback at the college, with the potential for him to be an All-Big Ten caliber player in a few years,” Angulo said.

Wolverines offer two exciting playmakers

Michigan offered two of the Midwest’s top pound-for-pound playmakers recently in Frankfort (Ky.) Western Hills’ Wandale Robinson and St. Louis (Mo.) Vianney’s Kyren Williams.

Neither player is particularly large — Robinson stands 5-foot-8, 170 pounds and Williams 5-foot-10, 190 pounds – but both are versatile playmakers who have played in the backfield and shown they can run routes and catch the football effectively.

Robinson visited Michigan recently while Williams said he is still working out when he can get to campus.

Robinson holds offers from Duke, Virginia, Nebraska, Northwestern and more.

Williams holds offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Northwestern and others.

More information

Cade McNamara profile

Wandale Robinson profile

Kyren Williams profile

Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.