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Nazareth QB JJ McCarthy commits to Michigan

Nazareth’s J.J McCarthy (2) tries to find a receiver. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

The state’s sophomore class is loaded with quarterback talent. The best of the bunch, Nazareth’s JJ McCarthy, made his college choice on Saturday. The five-star recruit gave an oral commitment to Michigan while on a visit in Ann Arbor.

“I always said when I feel like it’s home, I will commit,” McCarthy said. “Michigan checked all the boxes for me. The past two years I have been to a lot of schools. I want to commit early and help build my class. Being a QB that is so important.”

He announced the commitment on Twitter: “This day would not be possible without the years of mentorships from all of my coaches and teammates. Thank you Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and Coach [Ben] McDaniels. At 16 years old my dreams are closer to becoming a reality as I commit to the University of Michigan.”

McCarthy, a 6-2, 183-pound sophomore, is one of the top recruits in the country, ranked as the No. 2 quarterback in the nation and the top player in Illinois by 247Sports.

“Besides my parents, my Naz teammates and Coach [Tim] Racki have been my rocks,” McCarthy said. “I love all those guys like brothers. We have so much more to accomplish in two more years at Naz. I just can’t wait for the season to start.”

McCarthy choose the Wolverines over more than 30 schools, including Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

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McCarthy threw for 3,289 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. He turned in a heroic performance in the Class 7A state title game, battling through a broken thumb to lead the Roadrunners to victory.

“I broke my right thumb three days prior to the state championship game,” McCarthy said. “I was given the choice to play and deal with the pain or not play. That was never going to happen, I would have rather cut my thumb off than not play. I had surgery on the following Monday after the game.”

The area’s other highly-recruited sophomore quarterback, Antioch’s Athan Kaliakmanis, committed to Minnesota in late March.

Contributing: Beth Long