In February, less than two months from today, prospects from the class of 2019 will have signed their national letters of intent and that class will come to a close. A year later, recruits from the class of 2020 will do the same. While it may be early, let’s focus on a class of 2021 quarterback to know for Notre Dame.
La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy quarterback J.J. McCarthy is a first-year starter at the varsity level. However, this isn’t your typical sophomore signal-caller. The 6-2, 180-pounder is advanced mechanically and extremely intelligent. He has the arm strength, accuracy and traits you look for in a senior quarterback, yet he has an entire junior season left before he takes a snap during his final year of high school competition.
When watching McCarthy over the summer at Notre Dame’s Elite Skills Camp, I made it clear that this was a kid Fighting Irish fans needed to keep an eye on.
“There was some definite hype around La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy class of 2021 quarterback J.J. McCarthy and to be honest, he may have exceeded it. I loved what I saw from the 6-1, 175-pounder. He spins it extremely well and is very polished mechanically. Three schools have offered so far and if he performs as expected this fall, he’s going to see his offer list skyrocket. Notre Dame will absolutely be on this offer list. There is no reason to wait after what I saw today.”
Fast forward to today. Following a year when he led his team to a 13-1 record, an IHSA 7A State Championship, passing for 3,448 yards, 37 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 182 of 240 passing (76 percent), his offer list is now up to 14. Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, South Carolina, Toledo, Wisconsin and Yale have officially entered the mix.
The expectation is that Notre Dame is one of the next schools to offer. Quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees has shown a great deal of attention to McCarthy during all of his trips to campus since the summer and sources indicate that the Fighting Irish continue to get closer to pulling the trigger to arguably the top signal-caller in the midwest. While on campus over the summer, despite the fact that there were multiple quarterbacks much closer to finishing high school, Rees paid a lot of attention to McCarthy and made a point to show the young talent how important he was to this Irish staff. It clearly made an impression on McCarthy. The fact is, according to sources here, once that offer is extended Notre Dame is going to quickly become a major threat to eventually land him.
McCarthy will be on campus this weekend for Saturday’s Notre Dame football practice, as the Irish prepare for Clemson. We’ll see if he has good news coming his way.