Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is transferring to Northwestern.


Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is transferring to Northwestern, the Wildcats announced on Monday.

Johnson, whom ESPN ranked as the No. 1 pocket passer and No. 21 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class, announced his decision Monday. He opted to leave Clemson last month after competing for the starting job with incumbent Kelly Bryant and incoming freshman Trevor Lawrence, ESPN’s top-rated pocket passer and No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Wildcat family,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

Johnson will sit out the 2018 season and have three years of eligibility after completing 18 of 22 passes in seven games as a true freshman at Clemson last fall. Northwestern is hoping to get quarterback Clayton Thorson, a three-year starter, back from an ACL injury for the 2018 season but will need a new starter for 2019.

Johnson also visited Duke and considered Purdue before picking Northwestern, where his older brother, Cole, played as a reserve wide receiver.

“We are ecstatic to add a player of Hunter’s caliber and character to our program,” Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement.

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