McMcarthy ‘made time for the kids’ with second Mega Football Camp

What a difference a year makes. When J.J. McCarthy made his way home last spring for his first ever Mega Football Camp, his daily routine involved rehabbing his shoulder and practicing with teammates in preparation for a fall camp battle for the starting job. Fast forward to this spring and he’s the leader of the back-to-back Big 10 champs and one of the top returning players in all of college football, making his schedule a lot more hectic. Just ask his dad. Jim McCarthy relished the opportunity to run his son’s camp last Sunday in part because it gave them an opportunity to see one another.

“Early on it was like, ‘J, could you sign this (item) for a friend who’s asking?’ Now, we don’t even ask anymore because his time with us (is so limited),” Jim McCarthy told The Michigan Insider. “(Last week) was really the first time (in a while) that we had family time on Mother’s Day, all five of us. All the kids sat down and had a family dinner. (JJ) is gone, or my other daughter might be gone, or the other one might have something going on. And this past week that we had them home prior to the camp was the greatest week in mama McCarthy’s world. Because she had all of her cubs at home at one time. And I truly appreciated it too.”

Multiply that appreciation by 450. That’s how many kids attended McCarthy’s camp at “The Max” in McCook, Illinois last Sunday. Split into two sessions, with the morning portion was dedicated to the first through fourth graders, while the afternoon was dedicated to fifth through eighth. An obvious absence from this year’s camp was the high school group, a decision the McCarthy’s made after reflecting upon last year’s event.

“We wanted to focus mostly on the younger kids,” Mr. McCarthy explained. “The high schoolers are usually the third session for an eight-hour day, compared to two sessions with the younger ones. After doing last year’s camp, we felt it was so much more effective to just keep it (smaller). That was so much more effective and so much easier to manage. Because we want to do it right. We just don’t want to do something that’s a poor product for people that are coming. So, that’s why this year we kept it up to eighth grade.”

McCarthy also made sure to keep his teammates involved as an NIL opportunity. Thirty fellow Wolverines joined him helping make the camp experience one to remember for every youngster who attended.

(Photo: Sam Webb, 247Sports)

“It was amazing, all the help from the Michigan football team,” Mr. McCarthy said. “To drive four hours… some others took flights… to come support JJ in his camp? It’s truly a testament to how awesome the culture is with that football team. To be able to come out there for the kids and help J out with his camp… It just was absolutely awesome to see.”

It was also more family and team bonding time.

A lot of guys stayed at Trevor Keegan’s, a lot of kids stayed at Tyler Morris’s, some stayed at Jimmy Rolder’s, (and) I had about eight players staying at my house the night before,” Mr. McCarthy said. “If we weren’t meeting for dinner, we would be at my house. It was pretty awesome to just all sit around the screen porch, guys were shooting hoops, some jumped in the pool. and it was just awesome. “

Great times were had, but they were only a brief respite from a busy time for the entire crew. None busier than McCarthy, who jetted to the airport to catch a flight to California just after his camp ended.

“If he’s not training with Greg Holcomb here at Next Level Athletics, he’s out in California training with John Beck and 3DQB. He also has a NIL opportunity out there , too, for a couple of days. He’s working every day out there. He’s (always) doing something football related. I think he gets one day to relax out (at home), and then he’s back (to Michigan). So, I might see him for three hours before he has to go back to Ann Arbor, because he trains up there too. That is his main focus. And the gains are there for him in everything… mentally, spiritually, physically. I’m just happy to see it.”

He’s also happy to see that no matter how busy his son has gotten, or how bright his star has become, he’s still the same guy with the same values. Doing the camp was another example of that.

“With JJ it’s truly amazing how he handles every situation,” his dad said proudly. “He really thinks about it. He is so there for the kids more so than anything. Anything to help out the kids.

We see it all the time with his foundation and things that he does to consistently give back. That’s what he wants to do. It’s never any pressure from the outside.”

“That’s just who he is. That’s just how he’s cut.”

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