Cade McNamara felt good about Michigan the first time he stepped foot on campus in Ann Arbor. It was Super Bowl Sunday and the senior-to-be quarterback from Damonte Ranch High School in Reno, Nev., had the full attention of the Wolverines’ coaching staff inside Schembechler Hall.
“I was the only person in the building when it came to high school players,” McNamara told Land of 10. “It was the weekend, so some of the guys weren’t in on Sunday. It was just me and the rest of the coaching staff. For me to get that 1-on-1 time with each coach and go through the whole day with the main focus on me, it was really good to get that experience out of my visit.”
McNamara didn’t say yes to the Wolverines right then and there, but it didn’t take much more time for him to proclaim where he wanted to play college football. A one-time Notre Dame commit, McNamara tweeted on March 16 that he would instead commit to Michigan’s 2019 class.
— Cade McNamara (@Cademac12_QB) March 17, 2018
Almost as quickly as McNamara committed, he started lobbying more players to join the class. When he came back for his official visit on April 14, it was a top priority for him. It’s a role similar to one fellow commit Christopher Hinton has assumed.
“I feel the next step for me is just to do the best I can to get the best players who want to go to Michigan [and] want to be there,” McNamara said. “I believe it’s my responsibility as a quarterback, as the future face of the program and the offensive side of the ball to be a leader in the class. Part of that is building relationships with the rest of the commits and doing the best I can to help other players follow me into Michigan.”
Michigan has nine players committed to the 2019 class, which is ranked No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten by the 247Sports composite. There’s a long way to go in the recruiting cycle but the Wolverines are off to a good start. McNamara is rated a 4-star prospect and the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country. He has thrown for 9,089 yards, 107 touchdowns and 29 interceptions in three seasons a starter for Damonte Ranch, according to MaxPreps.
Michigan has recently added 4-star cornerback Te’Cory Couch and 3-star tackle Jack Stewart to the class. Couch was on his official visit the same weekend as McNamara, the weekend Michigan was forced to cancel its public spring game because of weather. Nolan Rumler, a 4-star guard and one of the first commits to the class, was also visiting that weekend.
“I’m really fired up about the other commits,” McNamara said. “Te’Cory committed while we were both on our officials, which was super cool. It was awesome. I also got to meet Nolan. He’s a great guy. We’ve all been talking a lot. We’re becoming a tight-knit group.”
Here's a look at my protection! https://t.co/ZkuVUIv97I
— Cade McNamara (@Cademac12_QB) April 17, 2018
Reno Bishop Manogue coach Ernie Howren told Rivals.com’s Andrew Vailliencourt that McNamara has all the tools to be a great quarterback.
“He’s everything you would want in a quarterback,” Howren said. “Great mechanics, great accuracy, explosive arm, such a quick release. You just look at the other things that you want in the leader of your program, you look at his field presence out there, just the way he leads the team, you can tell he has this confidence but at the same time a total respect for his players.”
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Shea Patterson hosted McNamara on his official visit. That was appropriate as McNamara feels his style of play best compares to Patterson among the Wolverines’ four scholarship quarterbacks (Patterson, Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton).
When McNamara arrives in 2019, the potential exists that all five players are on the roster.
The Wolverines wanted to bring in two quarterbacks for the 2018 class — Milton and Kevin Doyle. Doyle de-committed late and signed with Arizona. Michigan could go after a second quarterback in this class depending on how things play out. It’s something head coach Jim Harbaugh and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton addressed with McNamara early in their relationship.
“Go ahead,” was McNamara’s response. “I’m not afraid of competition at all. I already feel I’ve established myself as a big influence in my class right now and I’m pretty confident with my skills to [one day] win the job.”
As far as his previous commitment to Notre Dame, McNamara is keeping the specific reason for de-committing between him and Irish. He said he leaned on his dad, Gary, and mom, Nicole, as well as younger brothers Kyle and Jake a lot during the process, especially his father. Gary McNamara was an All-WAC baseball player at Fresno State in 1993 and has coached baseball in high school as well as at the University of Nevada.
“I didn’t de-commit because of the amount of attention I was getting from other schools. I de-committed because I didn’t feel that Notre Dame was the right place for me in the future,” McNamara said. “My family has really helped me throughout. They know me best, so it’s been really good having them by my side making those tough decisions, the tough calls. I’m glad I’ve had the faith of my family with me. It’s really helped me out.”