McNamara, a redshirt junior, still has two seasons of eligibility remaining after redshirting his freshman year and due to the 2020 COVID rule. He missed the majority of the 2022 season due to a knee injury he aggravated in the third game against Connecticut.
The Reno, Nevada, native helped lead the Wolverines to a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten championship, and a College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. At the time, the program was searching for answers after a disastrous 2020 season and had lost eight straight to the Buckeyes.
McNamara started all 14 games last season but lost a quarterback competition to J.J. McCarthy this September. He threw for 136 yards and a touchdown in his start against Colorado State before McCarthy took the reins.
He finished his Michigan career with 3,181 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He completed 63.1% of his passes and averaged 7.5 yards per attempt.
Regardless of what happened this season, McNamara’s legacy will be that he helped stop the bleeding for a program in desperate need of stability at quarterback. Jim Harbaugh’s first seven seasons didn’t go as planned, and McNamara was a big part of the team that reversed the narrative.
Since he took over as the starter at the beginning of 2021, the Wolverines are 24-2 with two wins over Ohio State. They’re playing for their second-straight Big Ten championship and headed to the playoff once again.
McNamara was named a captain on this year’s team, but the injury and quarterback change turned that into a bit of a strange dynamic. He tweeted a photo of his season-ending knee surgery earlier this month, but nobody has really heard from him since.
Even though he’s not as talented as McCarthy, the Michigan football program wouldn’t be where it is today without McNamara’s leadership and performance on the field. He earned the respect of his coaches, teammates, and fans.
Without McNamara, Michigan has walk-on Davis Warren and Texas Tech transfer Alan Bowman backing up McCarthy. The Wolverines play Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday night.