Pros and cons of Notre Dame pursuing former Michigan QB Cade McNamara

A career might come a full circle for former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, who was at one time committed to the Irish during his recruitment.

He flipped to the Wolverines and started to see significant playing time during the 2020 season. McNamara helped Michigan finally defeat Ohio State in 2021, which led it to a Big Ten title along with a berth in the College Football Playoff. This year, he battled JJ McCarthy for the job, but an injury ended his season after the third game.

On Monday, McNamara entered the transfer portal as a graduate (with two years of eligibility remaining) and the Irish have a need. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons for Notre Dame if it opts to pursue its former commit.

Pro - Familiarity with the offense


For the most part, the Wolverine and Irish offenses are very similar. They are built around a strong offensive line, like to pound opposing teams with the run and focus their passing game on the tight ends. Schematically, McNamara fits what the Irish are looking for as a passer, even if he isn’t much of a runner. The terminology would change, but his skill set wouldn’t.

Con - McNamara is coming off an injury

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) shakes hands with kicker Jake Moody (13) after Moody scores a field goal against Maryland during the second half at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

The Irish can ill afford to go after a quarterback who might be injury prone. Depth would be great. Some was created this year with Drew Pyne starting the majority of the season. Michigan never disclosed what McNamara’s injury was, but we know he had surgery in October. If the Notre Dame medical staff deems him fine, that would obviously change.

Editor’s note: It was previously incorrectly stated that McNamara did not need surgery. However, MLive states he underwent surgery on his knee last month. FIW apologizes for the error.

Pro - He’s beaten Ohio State

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) celebrates with fans as he walks up the tunnel after the Wolverines defeated Ohio State 42-27 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

With a rematch against Ohio State on the schedule for next season, it would be great to have a quarterback who had success against it. McNamara wasn’t exceptional against the Buckeyes, but he led his Michigan team to a 42-27 win. Even though he wasn’t the reason the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes, McNamara did enough to guide his team to a win. It would be a very similar situation in 2023.

Con - It could lead to more shake-up in the quarterback room

Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner, center, stands with Ron Powlus III, left, and Steve Angeli during Notre Dame’s spring NCAA college football practice on Thursday, March 17, 2022, inside the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend, Indiana. Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP

By bringing in another quarterback, it might signal the end of another’s tenure with Notre Dame. Pyne has shown what he can do, and I’m not sure he would want to sit on the bench for another two years. Tyler Buchner hasn’t shown he can stay healthy, and I doubt he would look elsewhere. Steve Angeli never got a fair shake to play this year. Would he wait another two more years for his shot? Who knows what each of the current Irish quarterbacks would think about a transfer coming in.

Pro - McNamara would have two years

Dec. 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) looks to throw against the Georgia Bulldogs in the third quarter during the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame, or really any team, wants to have some semblance of stability at quarterback. Notre Dame didn’t have it this year due to the aforementioned injury, but if McNamara were to come to South Bend, he would have two years of eligibility. He would bridge the gap until elite prospect CJ Carr arrives on campus. Multiyear starters usually prosper for collegiate programs.


April 2, 2022; Ann Arbor; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) passes during the Spring game at Michigan Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I would have to say the pros outweigh the cons, even if McNamara is a former Wolverine. In my eyes, he’s a much more proven commodity than what is on the current roster for the Irish. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but it would not surprise me to see Notre Dame kick the tires with McNamara during the offseason.

Check it out: 2022-23 Transfer Portal Tracker – Quarterback

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire