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Tyler Morris, JJ McCarthy use high school bond in CFP semis
(Credit: Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports)

Tyler Morris, JJ McCarthy use high school bond in CFP semis

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (BVM) – Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Tyler Morris hasn’t recorded many catches in his college career – only 16 receptions for 222 yards. However, none was bigger or on a bigger stage than his 38-yard touchdown reception against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday.

The catch not only marked the first touchdown of Morris’ Wolverines career but was also the longest reception he has recorded at Michigan. The score also made history for the Maize & Blue as it marked the first time the program held a lead in the College Football Playoffs.

“It don’t feel real,” Morris said after the game. “The way this game played out and everything that went into this whole year, for that to be my first it’s crazy.”

While Morris has only caught one touchdown from Wolverines’ quarterback JJ McCarthy at Michigan, the two have a much deeper connection than that. The duo played high school football together at Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, Illinois where the two rose to become top prospects.

In two years for the Roadrunners from 2018-19, McCarthy and Morris connected on 90 receptions for 1,656 yards and 20 touchdowns while also helping lead Nazareth to two state championship games and a state title in 2018.

Unfortunately for Morris, his quarterback would transfer to IMG Academy prior to the 2020 season and the Illinois High School Association pushed the campaign to the spring. While Morris played four games during the spring season, he came down awkwardly on an interception, tearing his ACL which cost him the rest of that season and the entirety of his senior season that fall as well.

Fortunately, Morris and McCarthy would reconnect at Michigan. McCarthy, a 247Sports’ composite five-star prospect and the No. 22 overall player nationally in the Class of 2021, signed with the Wolverines in December 2020. Just four months later, the four-star Morris would commit to Michigan.

It was a no-brainer move for the wide receiver.

“For me, it just felt like a family feeling the whole time,” Morris told BVM Sports in December 2021, “They seem to really care about their players and it just felt like the right place for me. The program just seems like me, just seems like something I could fit into and something I could really be a part of and a place I just really look forward to being at for the next four years.”

McCarthy correctly predicted big things for his former high school teammate before the season began.

“Tyler Morris, he’s gonna make a big name for himself this year,” McCarthy told 247Sports. “I’ve had that connection built since my sophomore year in high school. He’s gonna do great things.”

While it took a couple of seasons together with the Wolverines for McCarthy and Wilson to connect for a score, it couldn’t have come at a better time for the duo or Michigan. Now, with their connection at an all-time high, the pair will look to have even more championship glory together, this time for the Wolverines.