Former Naz players J.J. McCarthy, Tyler Morris lead Michigan football to Rose Bowl victory

'I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I wasn't in a seat for 60 minutes': Nazareth Academy football coach Tim Racki

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Nazareth Academy players lead UMich football to Rose Bowl victory
Where did J.J. McCarthy go to high school? After attending Nazareth Academy, he and Tyler Morris led Michigan football to a 2024 Rose Bowl victory.

LA GRANGE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- University of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, originally from the Chicago area, led his team to victory at the Rose Bowl on Monday.

In fact, there are several players from our area now on the cusp of a national championship.

Two of them are even from the same high school, Nazareth Academy, in La Grange Park.

In 2018, McCarthy and now-University of Michigan wide receiver Tyler Morris led Nazareth to a state title as underclassmen. Five years later, with the stakes a little higher against Alabama in the Rose Bowl, they hooked up for a 38-yard touchdown and eventually took down the Crimson Tide in overtime.

Nazareth football coach Tim Racki coached McCarthy and Morris.

"I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I wasn't in a seat for 60 minutes," Racki.

The players' victory was never a doubt for Racki.

"I just had a feeling that they were going to pull it out," Racki said. "Here's my guy, my two guys, playing in the Rose Bowl for Michigan, who I've been watching my entire life. It was surreal."

Racki's office is full of championship hardware and memorials to past triumph. An elite college prospect before ever playing a down of high school football, Racki said McCarthy has always been mature beyond his years.

"How he handled it from day one, walking into this building was with incredible poise, grace, humility, and that's who he is to this day," Racki said.

McCarthy was the perfect candidate to lead the winningest program in college football history back to the promise land.

"In a college career, there's been nobody better at Michigan than J.J.," said University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

McCarthy is one win away from delivering the Wolverines their first national title since 1997.

"We can't do it without the unity that we have. Everything we went through this entire year made us unbreakable, and in the biggest moments, we were going to show up," McCarthy said.

The celebration from that Rose Bowl win will likely be short-lived for McCarthy and the Wolverines as they get ready to face the Washington Huskies for the national championship on Monday night on ESPN.