Beth Long’s football recruiting notebook

Nazareth's J.J. McCarthy (2) runs away from St. Charles North's defense. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Nazareth's J.J. McCarthy (2) runs away from St. Charles North's defense. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Nazareth sophomore JJ McCarthy had a big 2018. The sophomore quarterback led the Roadrunners to the Class 7A state championship.

But 2019 is poised to perhaps be an even bigger year. Nazareth has the potential for another successful season and McCarthy’s recruitment is heating up. But first he had some mending to do from his breakout year.

“The offseason started late for me,” McCarthy said. “I broke my right thumb three days prior to the state championship game. 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 and couldn’t start training until the beginning of February.”

McCarthy has nearly 30 scholarship after his promising sophomore season.

“Recruiting has been going really well,” McCarthy said. “I am finding time to separate talking to coaches and focusing on my homework. It gets crazy, but [Nazareth coach Tim Racki] is there to always have my back. I am so appreciative of all the schools that have offered.”

The 6-2,180-pounder is one of the top prospects in the country according to multiple recruiting services. That recognition is part of what drives him to work harder for his team’s success.

“I’m so honored,” McCarthy said. “It only makes me want to work that much harder. The best part [of recruiting] is getting to see all the schools. I’ve grown up watching all these great college football teams and now I actually get to walk through their locker rooms, walk into their stadiums, and try on their uniforms. It’s a dream come true.”

That dream started years ago, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that he decided football was his future and not hockey, another sport he excels at.

“I knew that I wanted to play football since first grade,” McCarthy said. “But I also had a love for hockey. I used to leave freshman football games and hop on planes and go to Pittsburgh or Toronto. It was crazy. I had to eventually call it quits on hockey but I do love the sport still.”

That dedication to the gridiron continues to pay dividends for the young standout.

“I just received an offer from Washington State,” McCarthy said. “That was really awesome because nobody throws it more than them. Miami, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and ASU were the latest to offer. I’ve concentrated a lot on my Big Ten visits this winter like Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern. They are close and have incredible academics and football. I will be visiting Georgia and Georgia Tech next weekend and more visits to come.”

New offers

One of McCarthy’s top targets at Nazareth, freshman receiver Tyler Morris, has added an offer from Arizona State.

Several offers went out to multi-poistion players this week.

TF North junior Kendi Young added offers from Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Michigan.

Simeon defensive back Chau Smith was offered by Bowling Green.

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