Huge Northwestern Wildcats football news broke yesterday as the program got a commitment from Hunter Johnson, the #1 ranked quarterback, nationally, in the entire 2017 recruiting class.
Johnson, a five star rated recruit, originally committed to Clemson, and he did play very well with the Tigers in the limited action that he saw. Much of his playing time came in mop-up duty, but he completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns for the Atlantic Coast Conference champions. However Johnson was a victim of a numbers game at Clemson.
The situation in the quarterback room at one of college football’s premier national powers was a crowded one, filled with elite of the elite talent. However, Johnson is in a new location in a new conference, under a different coaching staff, running a different system. Hunter Johnson is so talented that the sky really is the limit for him and this program.
When you put together the combination of Johnson, a top notch strength and training program, some quality probiotics, some Omega 3s and a lot of hard work at that gorgeous new practice facility on the shore of Lake Michigan, and Cats fans can dream big. Think at least a trip or two to Indianapolis for the B1G Title game.
— Paul M. Banks ???? (@PaulMBanks) June 11, 2018
“The program that Coach Fitzgerald and his staff have built at Northwestern is phenomenal, and one my family has had the opportunity to get to know and trust,” a statement attributed to Hunter Johnson sent out by the school reads.
“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!”
It’s a great day for NU and a day for the rest of the B1G West division to be really be on notice. Look out Wisconsin Badgers, you may finally have some competition in the weak division that you have dominated since its inception.
Fellow division rival Purdue was the other team that the Brownsburg, Indiana native had been considering as his post Clemson destination.
“We are ecstatic to add a player of Hunter’s caliber and character to our program,” said Coach Pat Fitzgerald.
“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. I’m excited for the opportunity to be his coach and look forward to him joining our football family on campus this month.”
Johnson, who must redshirt this season per anachronistic NCAA protocol, will then be eligible with sophomore status in 2019.
His brother Cole played for the Wildcats as a walk-on wide receiver, who made his biggest impact in special teams.
Hunter Johnson, the state of Indiana’s Mr. Football in 2016, enrolled early at Clemson in 2017, as the team was transitioning from program legend, Heisman Trophy winner and first-round NFL pick Deshaun Watson. Johnson couldn’t beat out failed to beat out veteran Kelly Bryant however, a QB who is ridiculously talented and exceedingly productive in his own right.
Bryant returned for his senior season, and the Clemson QB depth chart also now boasts Trevor Lawrence, the number one rated quarterback recruit in the 2018 class. It was best for both Johnson and NU that this transfer came about.
Hunter Johnson will be able to spend his redshirt season learning under fifth year senior Clayton Thorson, a blue chip NFL prospect in his own right, provided he’s recovered from the ACL injury he suffered during the Music City Bowl.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.Follow paulmbanks