Cade McNamara and Erick All spearheaded the 2021 Michigan Wolverines to heights they hadn’t yet reached before in the Jim Harbaugh era. McNamara quarterbacked the Wolverines to a Big Ten championship and a CFB playoff appearance, with his tight end All as the second leading receiver. Yet both stars quickly fell out of the picture in Ann Arbor in large part due to injury.
Neither player saw the field in 2022 beyond Week 3, and the pair underwent long-term surgery to address lower body injuries. Harbaugh and company moved on with J.J. McCarthy as QB1 and Colton Loveland at tight end — the services of McNamara and All were no longer needed.
But, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure — right? On December 1, the deal was done and McNamara swapped his maize and blue threads for black and gold. And two weeks later, in lockstep, All did the same — not by coincidence.
“We were probably talking to each other every single day in the recruiting process,” McNamara said back in March. “Like, ‘This is what I’m thinking, what are you thinking?’ Me and him were roommates at Michigan. I definitely approach it as a friend. I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes — but obviously I’m going to do everything I can to get him here.”
All was thinking Iowa, obviously — and noted McNamara was the first person he told.
“[Cade] didn’t have to really recruit me pretty hard,” All said last week. “I don’t know when Cade wanted to go but I was thinking about going to begin with.”
This feels a little Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski-esque. (Heck, I could even use the Michigan ties to justify it.) Gronk probably wouldn’t have been a Buccaneer if TB12 didn’t venture to Tampa Bay, but there’s a case to be made All would make a great fit absent of who’s playing quarterback.
“Iowa being Tight End U — I think I had a pretty good argument,” McNamara told me.
Eleven Hawkeye tight ends have heard their name called at the NFL draft under Kirk Ferentz — and 12 in a couple of weeks when Sam LaPorta gets selected. Last year in QB dysfunction, Iowa’s tight end room accounted for 54% of the passing offense, tallying nearly 1,100 yards.
All said he would’ve loved to play with LaPorta, but it’s not like he’s going to be all alone next to the tackles. In fact, he’s not even TE1 on the spring depth chart. That nod is going to emerging star Luke Lachey.
“He’s a freak. Big lengthy guy — catches everything. ” All said of his teammate, who caught a team-high four touchdown passes in 2022.
“I was well aware of the situation that I was getting into,” McNamara said. “The team is excited, I think we’re ready for change. The guys are ready to go out there and prove ourselves and I know we’re going to do everything we possibly can to go out there and win football games.”