After a confusing and overall disappointing career for the Northwestern Wildcats, quarterback Hunter Johnson is entering the transfer portal, according to Matt Zenitz of On3 Sports, who announced the news on Twitter.
Johnson, a former five-star recruit, began his collegiate career at Clemson, where he sat behind Kelly Bryant and awaited the arrival of Trevor Lawrence. After the 2017 season, he announced he was entering the transfer portal, ultimately choosing Northwestern as his next destination.
Johnson came to Evanston in 2018, but was forced to sit out of the 2018 season due to the NCAA’s transfer rules at the time. It was assumed he would take over the starting role in 2019, and that he did. He was announced as the starter in the 2019 shortly ahead of the season opener against Stanford, but struggled and was benched for backup T.J. Green.
After Green suffered a season-ending injury during that game, however, Johnson was put back into action. Johnson started NU’s next three games, but injured his knee in a road loss to Wisconsin. He returned five weeks later in somewhat of a homecoming at Indiana, but reignited his injury, forcing him to miss another two weeks of play before having his season finished at home against Minnesota, where he suffered a season-ending concussion.
In 2020, Johnson appeared in just two games for the ‘Cats, due in large part to Indiana grad transfer Peyton Ramsey. When the 2021 season came around, it was unknown who the starter would be with South Carolina-transfer Ryan Hilinski coming in, but about a week before the season began, it was announced that Hunter had won the job over Hilinski and Marty.
To open the 2021 season, Johnson played what may have been the best game of his Northwestern career, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 38-21 loss to Michigan State. From there, however, he struggled mightily once again. Against Duke, Johnson threw three interceptions in the first half and was eventually benched for Marty. He did not see the field again for the Purple and White.
With that, Johnson’s career at Northwestern has come to a close. In three seasons at NU, he played in 11 games, completing 95-of-183 attempts for 856 yards and five touchdowns. He threw eight interceptions as well. It is unclear where Johnson will spend his final year of eligibility.
Barring another transfer quarterback, it’s looking even more likely that Hilinski will be the quarterback to lead Northwestern in its 2022 season. Johnson joins consensus 2020 All-American safety Brandon Joseph (who has committed to Notre Dame) and former highly-touted recruit and wide receiver Jordan Mosley (who has committed to Mississippi State), along with several others, in entering the portal from NU this season.