Written by Ryan Wright
It takes a lot of talent to earn Tennessee 5A Region Offensive Player of the Year honors, more than just a strong arm and great wheels. Jake McNamara worked his magic with Page Academy in 2020 to take home the top regional offensive honors slinging the ball for 2,197 yards with 19 touchdowns while rushing for three more in stats posted through nine games. The arm talents and rushing abilities of McNamara (5-11, 187) have brought three-star recruiting status and three scholarship offers to his doorstep. The next part of his journey is taking on all who show up at top college camps this summer.
With a highly active camp schedule set mixed with some recruiting visits, the Class of 2022 QB sat down for an RNG exclusive partnered with QB Hit List.
Jake, in more ways than one it is fun to watch you work the Mustangs offense playing quarterback. Your mental approach to the game is at another level. How have you worked over time to build your football IQ leading to the great success on the field during the 2020 season?
My football IQ has been built across the years. My older brother (Cade), he’s at Michigan, learning from him and from Jordan Palmer, he’s my QB coach. I go to Los Angles every year to work with Coach Palmer; he has helped me progress my mentality ability to pick apart defenses and move the ball down field.
Were you guys running a Spread or an Air Raid last season?
We were more of a Spread last year. We love to throw the ball but we want to run the ball here and there to balance out the defense to keep them honest.
With all the playmakers going out on routes, what coverages were you seeing when you dropped back?
Last year we saw a lot of Cover 3 early on, later we saw Cover 2, and in the postseason they played a lot of man coverage on us.
That sixth sense quarterbacks need in the pocket, you’ve got and you have the mobility to move around buying extra time for the play to be successful. What were some of the other key traits to your game that you were able to showcase during your junior campaign?
I feel like my ability to bring the team together. We were young without a lot of experience last season. How we came together was special. For me, getting the ball to my playmakers quickly so they can get downfield and make plays is another strength.
The arm strength is there and your release is fluid, are you doing anything this offseason working on your release or upper body mechanics?
This offseason I am focusing on my core and hips. I learned from processes and Coach Jordan, throwing mechanics come through the drive in your hips. I am making that more fluid and quicker.
What are you doing to increase your footwork?
I am doing things to increase my footwork. I have worked with a speed trainer every Wednesday and Saturday since January. Pretty much every day, five times a week I throw extra. During those workouts I work on drops and reads, getting in and out of the pocket, and on off-platform throws.
What will the 2021 Mustangs offense look like?
We are going to keep it the same, keep it simple. Most of what we did last year was plain so everyone knew what they were doing.
Did you play 7v7 ball this spring?
I did. I played on a travel team based in Nashville, TGH. We went throughout Tennessee and played in North Carolina.
How did it go playing against top competition from throughout the region and country?
It was great. It is a great an opportunity to connect with different guys with different speeds. Playing with top notch guys, you will get better. Playing with the best, your abilities will rise. We built a family that I didn’t think I would have. I really enjoyed playing with them.
Have you been to any camps this offseason?
I was at the Elite 11 Regional on May 16 in Nashville. I have some college camps coming up.
We’ll circle back to the college camps. Tell me about the Elite 11 experience.
It was awesome. I got to spin it with the top group there. I got to compete with the top guys. My combine score was a 94. I did really well there. I was happy with my success at the Elite 11.
So, which college camps are you going to this summer?
On June 1, I am going to a mega camp at Mercer, Middle Tennessee, most likely, Colorado State, and then to a Utah State camp. I will fly back to the south to go to Liberty, North Carolina or NC State. I will go to camps at Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt in June also.
You will be very busy.
How many offers are you holding?
Three: Colorado State, Eastern Kentucky, and Utah State.
Which programs are showing interest ahead of the camps?
There are a handful. There are some I’d like to see them at camps, Liberty, a few others that are from around here. Other colleges are Western Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Columbia, and Mercer.
Which programs will you be visiting?
For sure I will be visiting Colorado, Utah State, and Liberty.
As you go through the recruiting process, what does the ideal next level fit look like to you?
The next level space is one that loves me, a place where I will enjoy my time, an offense that works and where I fit. Feeling at home, love 100 percent being there, and love everything about being there. Finding a place that loves me, I want go there and be successful.
A great way to wrap our interview. Jake, I appreciate your time today. Good luck spinning it at the camps this summer.
Yes, sir. Thank you.
Photo credit: McNamara family; Jake McNamara