There’s a new quarterback in town.
Three years after Northwestern welcomed in an Indiana graduate transfer named Peyton Ramsey, who led NU to its second Big Ten West title in three years, the Wildcats are bringing in a new face to their struggling quarterback room in hopes that he can do the same.
Incoming sixth-year senior Ben Bryant, who previously played at Cincinnati from 2018-2020 and 2022 — which sandwiched a stint at Eastern Michigan in 2021 — announced Wednesday that he would be heading to Evanston.
Thank you Cincinnati for all you have done for me. You will always be home. Thank you Coach Fitz for this incredible opportunity. Let's get to work pic.twitter.com/zVsUBcMNbB— Ben Bryant (@benbryant_6) May 3, 2023
Bryant comes to Northwestern on the heels of a 9-2 campaign for the Bearcats where he threw for 2,731 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while completing 61.2% of his passes. He started the first 11 games of 2022 for Cincinnati before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
Bryant led UC to a ranking of No. 24 in the nation before going down for the final two games. Without their starting QB, the Bearcats dropped their final two games of the season, including a 24-7 loss to Louisville in the Fenway Bowl. With head coach Luke Fickell leaving Cincy for Wisconsin this offseason, Bryant entered the transfer portal and was tied for the No. 23-ranked quarterback, according to 247Sports.
Northwestern adds Bryant to a quarterback room that features Brendan Sullivan, Jack Lausch, Cole Freeman, Aidan Gray and Ryan Hilinski, who is recovering from an ACL injury and currently unable to practice. Between NU’s rotating carousel of quarterbacks last season, the combined ‘Cats posted fewer passing yards, touchdowns, a worse completion percentage and more interceptions thrown than Bryant alone in 2022.
The door is wide open for Bryant to step in and take the reigns of a Northwestern team that was the worst scoring offense in the Power Five, and the ninth-worst total offense in the Power Five in 2022.
Whether he’ll live up to the impact transfer status of Ramsey or fall in the same boat as Hilinski and former Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson is unknown, but one thing’s for certain: it is going to be an interesting summer.