J.J. McCarthy, Michigan’s five-star 2021 quarterback, is transferring and will play his final season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, citing the uncertainty of high school fall sports in his home state of Illinois.
McCarthy, who led Nazareth Academy to a state title as a sophomore and a runner-up finish last season, shared on social media on Monday that he is thankful for his teammates and Nazareth coach Tim Racki. He asked his decision be respected and is declining interviews.
“Due to the uncertainty of fall sports in the State of Illinois, I will be finishing my education at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL beginning the summer of 2020,” McCarthy wrote.
Michigan, which spent a portion of spring practice at IMG Academy in 2016, has had IMG Academy products in quarterback Shea Patterson and center Cesar Ruiz on the roster. Ruiz was a first-round NFL selection by New Orleans in last month’s draft, and Patterson recently signed with Kansas City.
McCarthy praised Racki.
“You are more to me than just a coach,” McCarthy wrote. “You are my mentor and friend for life. You set the example of what great coaches should be. You put us in our place when we need to be successful in life and on the football field. I will always be your QB.”
In an interview with The Detroit News earlier this month, McCarthy said he hoped to enroll early at Michigan in January, but said there were some hiccups in making that happen because of his high school. With his move to IMG Academy, the likelihood is greater he will be in Ann Arbor early next year.
“Michigan really wants me to enroll early,” McCarthy told The News.
McCarthy said he has been staying in shape, working out and throwing daily. He said he stays in touch with Michigan quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels. McCarthy said he plans to work hard and learn the ropes when he arrives at Michigan.
“I'm not gonna go in there like Mr. Five Star or anything like that. I hate that. I hate image,” McCarthy said, referring to when he will finally head to Michigan. “When I get there I just want to show them that I'm willing to work my butt off and do whatever I can to make the team better.”