While Hunter Johnson may well still be the future of the program, this year has put a dent in that logic. And with Aidan Atkinson no longer joining next year’s quarterback room, this group may need some help, even if Andrew Marty turns out to be the savior or TJ Green returns for a sixth year.
So if Northwestern were to follow up the evident hiring of Mike Bajakian with a transfer quarterback or even a potential recruit to replace Atkinson, who would it be? Let’s run down the shortlist:
Anthony Brown - Boston College
Hot off the presses, Anthony Brown has entered the transfer portal. The dual threat QB is the most obvious possibility for NU in terms of a transfer. In his last season at BC under Mike Bajakian, the redshirt junior threw for 1,250 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in six games before getting sidelined for the season due to a knee injury.
Considering Northwestern offered him out of high school, and according to a few experts, recruited him hard, it doesn’t seem like a crazy assumption to think that NU will pursue the graduate transfer this offseason. Additionally, we can put on our purple tinfoil hats and consider two things.
One, Northwestern had a rough season at quarterback, and has an uncertain future at the position. Two, Northwestern fires their offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, and is reportedly on the verge of hiring Bajakian. Three days after the report that Bajakian is moving to NU, Brown announces his intent to transfer.
It might be a stretch, but there’s certainly a scenario in which Brown, a veteran starter with 28 games under his belt who, despite a career marred by injury, seems to be continually getting better, decided to transfer intending to follow Bajakian to NU, where he will certainly be able to compete for the starting quarterback role.
Tate Rodemaker - USF Commit
A lot has changed between Rodemaker’s commitment to USF on June 18, 2019, and his upcoming visit to NU on December 13th. For one, Rodemaker hadn’t had an official visit to either school before his commitment. Secondly, Northwestern was behaving under the assumption that Atkinson would be their 2024 starting QB up until a few weeks ago.
Without Atkinson, Northwestern will soon have to add a quarterback, and could pursue Rodemaker more heavily than they did previously. From Rodemaker’s side, it’s significant hat NU doesn’t have a QB in the class that he would be behind. Additionally, the firing of McCall and addition of Bajakian certainly changer the equation in his thoughts on NU, and his prospects at the school.
Rodemaker, who has also received recent offers from Pitt and Baylor, even recently fired off an enigmatic tweet:
wow this is going to be very tough...— ǝʇɐʇ (@TateRodemaker) December 10, 2019
Michael Wright - UCF Commit
Wright was recruited by Northwestern and received an offer. The fact that he doesn’t have a visit scheduled with Northwestern would suggest that he’s not nearly as likely to be NU’s next quarterback recruit as Rodemaker is, but he’s still an option. Wright committed to UCF on June 16th, but is yet to take an official visit there either, with Josh Heupel’s status as the head coach going forward still somewhat up in the air.
If Rodemaker doesn’t work out, Wright could be a player that the ‘Cats target.
Jack Sears - USC
Sears is a long shot by every means of the phrase. Most pundits assume that the four star recruit will end up at SDSU, but nothing is certain yet. After committing and decommitting to Duke in 2016, Sears ended up at USC, where he has attempted only 28 passes in three years.
The California native took an unofficial visit to NU and received an offer, but never considered the Cats too thoroughly. Sears as a Wildcat is unlikely to happen on both ends, but if the Cats want a QB who can keep them competitive, and Sears wants the chance to compete for a Big Ten title, or even a Rose Bowl bid, Northwestern may be his best option as he looks for a place to transfer.