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As a Recruit
JJ McCarthy grew up as an Ohio State fan. But after being slighted on the recruiting trail by the Buckeyes, McCarthy committed to Michigan and turned his passion into a hatred. “I want to kill them,” McCarthy told The Athletic in 2019. McCarthy spent his first three high school years at La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth Academy, where he led the team to three state title games, winning one in 2018. He also played lacrosse. He transferred to IMG Academy as a senior due to COVID cancelling the 2020 fall football season in Illinois. As a true freshman, McCarthy backed up Cade McNamara and appeared in 11 games as an added wrinkle to the Wolverines offense. He and McNamara competed for the starting role in the 2022 offseason with neither winning the job outright at the start of the season. But after the first two games, McCarthy won the starting job, leading the Wolverines to a 12-0 regular season. He is the son of Jim and Megan McCarthy. McCarthy mediates twice per day.