SALINE, Mich. (BVM) — If you are the quarterback at the University of Notre Dame, you are treated like a professional. With the amount of history and attention on the program, you will be the focal point of every conversation surrounding one of the biggest schools in all of college football.
This could be a lot of pressure for a high school signal caller committed to the Fighting Irish, but for Saline High School junior CJ Carr, it’s something he embraces.
“It’s a hard title to wear, it’s a hard position to play, but that’s what you sign up for,” Carr said. “I enjoy the mental side and the film sessions. It’s a job, but I enjoy it.”
There were plenty of suitors for the junior QB and for good reason.
He is the No. 5 quarterback in the country and the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan according to 247 Sports.
It is hard to find stronger bloodlines than Carr’s with one grandfather being longtime Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr, and his other being Tom Curtis, a former All-American safety for the Wolverines who is in the College Football Hall of Fame.
His father is Jason Carr, who also played quarterback at Michigan.
Despite his strong football background, his family let him try and create his own path, but eventually, it all led back to the gridiron.
“Growing up, I played baseball, basketball, football, tennis, pickleball, volleyball. If there was a ball, it was in my hands,” Carr said. “As I continued to get older, football was the clear winner for my favorite sport. From the time I was young, that was the sport I wanted to play.
When he did ultimately choose football, he had the perfect support system in place.
“It’s a real blessing to have those three people in my life,” Carr said. “They’ve guided me through the whole recruiting process, picking a school, and then also getting through high school football seasons, and learning reads. Without them, I don’t think I’d be in the same position that I’m in today.”
The recruiting process started for him as a freshman. In the postseason, the Hornets’ starting QB got hurt, resulting in Carr making his varsity debut in a snowy, 10-degree playoff game. He played well, but unfortunately Saline came up short.
In fact, he played well enough to get offers from Michigan and Michigan State following the game.
Carr enjoyed the recruiting process throughout his sophomore year and prior to his junior season, he announced his commitment to Notre Dame.
Think Big ☘️☘️☘️ pic.twitter.com/5iAQGE9KjR
— CJ Carr (@13Cjcarr) June 10, 2022
He visited the school a total of four times before his commitment, and on his third trip to South Bend, Carr had a gut feeling that it was where he wanted his future to unfold.
“We sat down with Coach Freeman and Coach Rees and really had some cool conversations,” Carr said. “After that, you go and visit other schools and you’re always comparing them to Notre Dame.”
After the visit, Carr kind of had his mind made up, even telling his father that he was silently committed in his head. His father convinced him to explore all of his options to make sure he was making the right decision, and ultimately pledged to the Irish following his fourth visit.
But the reason that he can call himself a Notre Dame commit is due to years and years of hard work which has ultimately propelled him to being one of the best players in the country.
“I knew football was my sport and I was going to do anything to play it as long as I can,” Carr said. “I can’t imagine not putting the pads on after a long offseason.”
Despite all of his individual accolades, the proudest moment in his football career came this past season. He led Saline to two victories over rival Huron, with one of those coming in the playoffs.
For Carr, there is no reward in being ranked higher than someone else, or having a raving review from an analyst. The real reward is accomplishing all he can with his teammates at Saline.
“The people that really matter are the people that are gonna line up next to you and help you win a football game,” Carr said. “Those are the only opinions that matter.”
In the near future, Carr has the ultimate goal to win big at Notre Dame, but for the time being, he still has one more year ahead with his guys at Saline to fight for a state championship next season.