Clemson Football

Former Clemson quarterback transfers to Northwestern

June 11, 2018
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Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson has found himself a new home up north in Evanston, Illinois.

The No. 1 rated overall quarterback in the class of 2017 has decided to transfer to Northwestern University where he will sit out the entire 2018 season due to NCAA rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining in 2019.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Wildcat family," Johnson said in a release from the University. "The program that Coach (Pat) Fitzgerald and his staff have built at Northwestern is phenomenal, and one my family has had the opportunity to get to know and trust.

"I am thankful to Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for all their support over the past year-and-a-half. My focus now is on doing everything in my power to help this team prepare to compete for a Big Ten West title. Go 'Cats!"

Johnson spent his freshman year trying to battle out Kelly Bryant for the starting position over the course of spring and fall camp. Once Bryant was named the starter, Johnson battled out another former Clemson quarterback who has transferred, Zerrick Cooper, for time in a backup role.

The Indiana native played in seven games as a true freshman and completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. At Brownsburgh High School, he threw for over 6,600 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He was also named Most Valuable Player of the U.S. Army All-America.

There are even family ties that Johnson has to the University. His brother, Cole, was a special teams player for the Wildcats from 2013-2016. 

"We are ecstatic to add a player of Hunter's caliber and character to our program," said Fitzgerald later in the release. "He comes from an outstanding family, one we've had the opportunity to know for many years, and he will fit right in to the culture we continue to build here in Evanston."

This feels like a great fit for Johnson and a great get for Fitzgerald and his coaching staff. Johnson was a Communication major at Clemson and Northwestern has one of the best journalism programs in the country.  He will look to help lead a Northwestern offense that finished ranked No. 64 in the country in passing offense with 233 yards per game.

Clemson was ranked No. 61 in that same category.

Johnson told Clemson Sports Talk after the spring game that he liked where he was at in terms of his game and the quarterback competition heading into the summer.

Now, Johnson and Northwestern both have to feel really good about their situations as they move forward together.

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