Two Michigan Football Captains Transfer, But Not Quietly


McNamara celebrates with All (middle) after connecting for a touchdown. Photo Credit: Randy Litzinger via Getty Images

Graham Barker, Editor in Chief

Earlier this month, two senior captains of the Michigan football team announced they would enter the transfer portal: quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All.

McNamara’s decision was expected and is almost common sense after losing his previous role of starting QB to the younger JJ McCarthy, but All’s departure was a surprise to many fans.  Although Luke Schoonmaker and Colston Loveland have thrived at TE since All went down with a season-ending injury early this fall, the senior was still widely assumed to be next year’s starter, especially with inklings that Schoonmaker would be declaring for the draft after this year.

Michigan fans’ confusion was heightened further when All wrote in one of two tweets about his transfer, “Not everything/everyone are what they seem and I learned that from my time here at Michigan.”

Nothing official has come out, but rumors have arisen that All had a disagreement with Michigan’s medical staff over his injury, rumors followed by a lengthy statement defending All from one of the Florida doctors involved with his surgery. The doctor, Michael O’Neal, said that All “lost confidence” in the Michigan staff regarding his injury.

Unfortunately, people outside the program will likely never know the exact dispute or issue that All had with people at Michigan that led to his transfer.

Just two days later, McNamara appeared on his former private coach Jordan Palmer’s podcast, The Room, on which more drama arose. Palmer started the approximately seven-minute segment on McNamara’s career with Michigan by prodding McNamara to throw his former school under the bus.

Palmer called Michigan “thankless” after Cade had led them to their first College Football Playoff berth the year prior, and seemingly refused to say JJ McCarthy’s name, instead referring to him as “the other guy” throughout the segment.

McNamara didn’t hold the same stubbornness towards McCarthy, but did seem to feel that he wasn’t given a fair chance, even though coach Jim Harbaugh gave the two quarterbacks a full game each to start the season before announcing a starter. This was an unprecedented move and one that, in retrospect, looked more like a courtesy to McNamara than a true audition.

McNamara also discussed his own injury, saying that, after he went down against UConn, it was discovered that he had torn his patella last season and had been playing on it for almost a year. He, like All, got an outside opinion on the issue and ended up getting a surgery that he says Michigan advised against.

Although McNamara didn’t express any real issues with players or coaches outside of the competitiveness you would expect from a college quarterback, people began to question whether there was any sort-of culture problem at Michigan.

Luke Schoonmaker tried to silence any doubt on Twitter, retweeting a fan who said “there is absolutely NOT a culture problem” and adding himself, “I love my brothers and we’ve got the best coach in the world!!!”. McCarthy replied, “That’s my captain,” a potential slight at All and McNamara.

So, while there doesn’t seem to be any culture problem between players and coaches, the details and full, true stories of the transfers’ medical disputes with Michigan remain to be seen. It’s definitely troubling to see two captains exit the program for what could be a similar reason like this, though, and it’ll be interesting to see if any more problems arise from the medical staff.

Quickly after entering the portal, McNamara announced that he’s headed to Iowa, and on the 14th, All decided to join him. The duo will look to improve a Hawkeye offense that was 2nd-to-last in conference scoring this year. Michigan isn’t currently going after any quarterbacks or tight ends in the transfer portal and seems to be satisfied with their depth at both positions.