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Key Michigan football position battle has JJ McCarthy excited

Michigan football fans need to keep an eye on this position battle heading into the 2023 season.



Michigan football, JJ McCarthy, fall camp
Apr 1, 2023; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Greg Crippen (51) prepares to snap during the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When quarterback JJ McCarthy took over as the starter for the Wolverines during the 2022 season, Virginia transfer Olu Oluwatimi — the most decorated lineman in program history — was the starting center. Now, with Olu in the NFL and a few fresh faces dueling it out right now, JJ is excited about this key Michigan football position battle as fall camp starts to hit its peak.

Key Michigan football position battle has junior quarterback JJ McCarthy excited during fall camp

Few positions, if any, are as important as the center is in college football. This year, two veteran centers are battling it out in Ann Arbor ahead of the coming season, with little separation between these two thus far. That said, according to second-year starting quarterback JJ McCarthy, this impressive key Michigan football position battle is a reason for excitement heading into the new campaign.

“It’s very hard to compare the last two years (offensive lines) because they were so great,” JJ McCarthy said earlier this week. “All I’m seeing when I look at that front five — it’s front five with the two tackles, and then you’ve got (Greg Crippen) and (Drake Nugent) going after it — it’s just so much talent. So much opportunity to be great up front once again; so, very excited to see how it plays out.”

Junior quarterback JJ McCarthy also added that, while he has far fewer reps with these two centers than he had with last year’s starter, Olu Oluwatimi, the transitions have been going well during fall camp thus far.

“It’s been a really smooth transition,” JJ McCarthy said of new transfer center Drake Nugent, who was a team captain for the Stanford Cardinal over in the PAC-12. “Obviously, he’s a savvy veteran, so everything is just technically sound … All that stuff is great, but just getting those reps, that’s the biggest thing right now for him because he’s gonna play, both of them (Crippen and Nugent) are gonna play, so it’s just going to be a matter of time to see who makes that distance away from each other.”

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball. Right now, CJ is the publisher of Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. Previously, CJ has made stops with Fansided, The Michigan Daily, and more.