The Michigan QB’s big-game composure is reminiscent of another Wolverine QB1 who then went on to become the NFL’s GOAT. And he’s already beginning to cash in.
At every level of football, quarterbacks garner the most attention – from opposing defenses, fans at the stadium, media outlets covering every second of action, and brands looking to partner with notable stars.
Of the four signal-callers leading their teams into Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinals, only one occasionally shares snaps with a teammate — but that doesn’t seem to faze Michigan’s confident, composed junior quarterback, Cade McNamara, who has built a brand on and off the field this season that links him directly with another Wolverine great.
“This is what I envisioned when I decided to come here to Michigan,” he said after winning the Big Ten title against Iowa.
As with much of his story so far, McNamara dreamt it into existence — whether you gave him a shot or not.
Who is Cade McNamara?
- Position: Quarterback
- Number: 12
- Class: Junior
- Height: 6-foot-1
- Weight: 212 lbs.
- Hometown: Reno, Nevada
- Big Ten champion
- Third Team All-Big Ten
- Academic All-Big Ten
- Michigan’s Most Improved (Offense) Award
The Cade Brand
Michigan’s stout defense led by Heisman Trophy runner-up Aidan Hutchinson earned the most consistent headlines this season, but the Wolverines’ turnaround campaign – they were 2-4 in 2020 compared to 12-1 in 2021 – can additionally be attributed to a rejuvenated offense keyed by junior quarterback Cade McNamara’s steady play.
McNamara’s contributions on the field match his personal brand off of it – he’s relatable. He’s not the biggest, fastest, or most prolific quarterback, he just wins ball games. Remaining poised while 5-star freshman JJ McCarthy gradually earned secondary reps exuded a maturity that most college quarterbacks don’t have.
His confidence and composure in the most high-pressure moments and biggest games have deservedly garnered comparisons to a certain former Michigan signal-caller turned NFL icon.
When Tom Brady announced a roster of student-athletes as the faces of his BRADY apparel company, it was no surprise that McNamara stood right next to the reigning Super Bowl MVP in the brand’s reveal.
Being compared to and associated with Brady (as well as modeling next to him) is obviously a huge boost to McNamara’s personal brand and growing hero status in Ann Arbor and beyond. But he’s a groundbreaker in his own right, especially on the NIL front, where he became the first student-athlete to get paid in cryptocurrency after signing with More Management, which boasts its own $MORE token on the Bittrex exchange.
As the first Michigan quarterback to beat Ohio State in a decade, McNamara’s stock continued to rise with the Wolverines powering through Iowa in the Big Ten Championship and earning the No. 2 seed in the Playoff and a Sports Illustrated cover story anointing the QB “The Marvelous Mr. Maize and Blue.”
McNamara’s opportunity in the CFP against Georgia’s super-elite defense in the semifinal and a potential matchup with Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and top-ranked Alabama in the title game could take his personal brand to new heights and set him up for an even more productive, lucrative senior season in 2022.
Just like he envisioned it.