JJ McGrath informed me when I spoke to him after his visit that he had committed to Michigan last Saturday. Out of respect to him, this was not made public until he could make the announcement personally. Now that he has officially committed, I spoke with the newest member of the Michigan football team who is expected to take a preferred walk-on role.
JH: With your commitment to Michigan, what do you bring to the team?
McGrath: Well, the obvious answer is that I kick the ball far (laughs). I also bring confidence and leadership to the team. I couldn’t care less if I’m only a kicker, I work extremely hard. It’s my job to be consistent and that is my goal.
JH: I know you had some interest in MSU. How did that feel when they offered a scholarship to someone else and stopped recruiting you? Also, do you feel some sort of revenge or payback will be coming to them when you decided to commit to Michigan?
McGrath: I didn’t make that decision based on vengeance because that simply is not the right thing to do. I’ve grown up a lot in the past 2-3 months and that has really allowed me to make smart decisions on my own. I was extremely upset with MSU, and it caused me to have a burning passion to beat them, but I didn’t make the decision on “revenge”. However, it will make kicking their tail just that much sweeter.
JH: There’s been some big names who’ve had big moments in the past for Michigan. What is it going to take to include yourself into that elite group of Michigan kickers?
McGrath: Continuing what I’ve been doing from day one. Working my tail off and keeping it basic. I love pressure, I thrive in it. I think that will be my best attribute.
JH: A lot of people will be wondering, did the 2013 recruiting class Hoke has put together have any influence on your decision?
McGrath: He has put together a POWERHOUSE. That isn’t the reason I chose Michigan but I definitely noticed that and it was a cool thing to add onto my other reasons.
JH: What are your reasons for committing?
McGrath: Simply because it’s Michigan. The opportunities offered were just too much to turn down. The alumni, the level of ball, exposure, the team, coaches, the opportunity to play in the BIGGEST stadium in all of football and the benefits of having a Michigan degree. I couldn’t pass that up. Another thing that struck me during my visit was that the tradition is real. While I am a kid now and I can’t quite comprehend the Michigan tradition, I know that when I grow up I will look back and truly be able to appreciate this tradition and how awe inspiring it is not only for the state of Michigan, but for the NCAA as well. This school and this coaching staff represent the decades before them and to me, that’s amazing.
JH: What do the coaches have planned for you as far as your place on the depth chart goes?
McGrath: The way I think it’s going to work is that I redshirt my first year. After Gibbons graduates, I hope to win the job and start my redshirt freshman year.
JH: Last question, will you start to think about brunette girls before taking your kicks?
McGrath: I am actually into blondes a little more, but brunettes work (laughs). Really though, in all seriousness, I don’t think about anything. My mind has completely blank thoughts before any kick.
McGrath will fit right into the trend of Hoke getting high character kids to commit to him and the University of Michigan. With the kicker position at an eventual premium, McGrath’s talents and skill set will be needed in the near future.