Former IHSA Athletes Aid in Propelling Michigan to National Championship


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CHICAGO, IL – Illinois football programs, particularly JJ McCarthy, played a pivotal role in the University of Michigan’s recent College Football National Championship victory, marking a significant moment for the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 

Among these athletes, JJ McCarthy, a former quarterback at Nazareth Academy, led the Michigan Wolverines to their first national title since 1997. 

According to IHSA, McCarthy, along with 11 other players from Illinois high schools, were instrumental in Michigan’s undefeated season, culminating in a dominant 34-13 win over Washington. McCarthy’s leadership and skill were central to Michigan’s offensive strategy throughout the season and were on full display during the championship game. His performance not only highlights his individual talent but also underscores the caliber of athletes emerging from Illinois high schools.

In the championship game, Michigan’s robust offense, featuring McCarthy’s precise passing and strategic playmaking, combined with a powerful running game led by Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, overwhelmed Washington. The Wolverines amassed an impressive 303 rushing yards, with Corum contributing two crucial touchdowns in the final quarter.

This triumph is a testament to the significant impact of Illinois athletes in the collegiate football landscape. McCarthy’s journey from Nazareth Academy to leading a historic championship win exemplifies the potential and talent nurtured within the IHSA. His success, along with his Illinois peers, serves as an inspiration to young athletes across the state, showcasing the heights Illinois high school athletes can reach on the national stage.

Former IHSA Athletes on the 2024 National Championship Team include:

Brooks Bahr, Loyola Academy

Josh Beetham, Yorkville High School 

Jyaire Hill, Kankakee High School 

Danny Hughes, Naperville Central High School 

Trevor Keegan, Crystal Lake South High School

J.J. McCarthy, Nazareth Academy 

Tyler McLaurin, Bolingbrook High School 

Tyler Morris, Nazareth Academy

Trey Pierce, Brother Rice High School

Jimmy Rolder, Marist High School 

Deakon Tonielli, Oswego High School 

John Weidenbach, Benet Academy


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