Harbaugh plans to start McNamara, McCarthy in opening games

Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh has decided to start Big Ten championship-winning quarterback Cade McNamara when No. 8 Michigan opens its season Saturday at home against Colorado State.

When the Wolverines host Hawaii the following week, Harbaugh has chosen to give J.J. McCarthy their first snap.

Harbaugh said no one can be sure who the team’s starting quarterback will be after the first two games.

“No person knows what the future holds,” he said Monday. “The process will be based on performance.”

McNamara started every game last season as a junior, leading Michigan to a win over rival Ohio State for the first time in a decade and to its first Big Ten title since 2004.

The third-team, All-Big Ten player from Reno, Nevada, completed 64% of his passes for an average of 184 yards passing per game with 15 passing touchdowns, one rushing score and six interceptions. This summer, he was voted in as a team captain.

McCarthy, from La Grange Park, Illinois, played in 11 games last year as a highly touted freshman. He connected on 58% of his 59 passes for a total of 516 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had 124 yards rushing and two scores.

Harbaugh insisted, more than once, that he isn’t planning to play McCarthy to keep him out of the transfer portal.

“Did it factor in that one would transfer or not? No,” Harbaugh said. “They are both the kind of guys that don’t flinch, fold, or quit at the slightest whiff of adverse circumstances or something that doesn’t go their way.

“That’s not Cade McNamara. That’s not J.J. McCarthy.”

McCarthy did not throw last spring, resting a shoulder injury, but that did not seem to hurt his chances of competing for the starting job.

“He didn’t have spring ball, but he’s continued to flourish,” Harbaugh said.

Playing both quarterbacks against Connecticut in the team’s third game, and in Big Ten play, seems to be likely and opponents will have to prepare for their different styles.

McNamara appears to have more patience in the pocket and often makes the right decision, weighing the risk and reward of throwing into traffic or tucking the ball and running.

McCarthy seems to be more of a big-play threat, giving defenses the challenge of containing a speedy quarterback with a big arm.

Two quarterbacks, Harbaugh and his players, say is better than having one, clear-cut starter under center.

“It’s a great spot to be in,” offensive guard Zak Zinter said. “I’m excited to see how it all plays out.”

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.