QB Hunter Johnson on Clemson to Northwestern Adjustments, Differences


hunter johnson

In Dabo Swinney’s Clemson football program, every week of practice has a striking similarity to the world of pet Instagram accounts. In both spheres of influence, each day has a theme. At Clemson, there’s “Mental Monday,” “TANOGA (takeaways, no giveaways) Tuesday,” “Working Man Wednesday” and “Team Thursday.”

In the world of cat Instagram accounts you have “Tongue out Tuesday,” “Whisker (or Wicked Cat) Wednesday,” “Purrsday,” “Friday Night Box Pawty,” “Caturday” and “Sunday Funday.” In other words, there’s a theme every week that must be adhered too, and you will conform! It was exactly one year ago today that Northwestern officially announced the incoming transfer of quarterback Hunter Johnson from Clemson.

Hence it is the perfect time to publish the content of the conversation that we had this spring with the 5-star prospect/#1 ranked QB in the 2017 recruiting class. A lot of ground was covered, including the similarities and differences between Clemson and Northwestern. And of course, we brought up the weekly practice routine at Clemson, where the days are named with alliteration. (Why else would we have led with that?)

“It gives us something to focus on, to take in your day and say this is what we’re going to focus on,” the Brownsburg, Indiana native responded.

“It’s just something that coach Swinney did, he has a lot of these little things to keep in our mind.”

Having gone through all of a spring practice term at NU, Johnson can now speak of the similarities and differences between Northwestern and Clemson.

“It’s very similar in a lot of ways, tempo wise, like to push it up tempo in practice, keep guys moving, reps wise getting a lot of people involved,” he said before discussing the similarities and differences between Dabo Swinney and Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

hunter johnson

“They’re both great at recruiting high character guys, their first priority is finding guys who fit the mold of the program.”

Given how talented Trevor Lawrence is, all that he’s accomplished already, and how long he’s going to be around, Johnson made the right call in exiting the Tigers program.

Once he knew he was going to leave Clemson, it was probably inevitable that Johnson would eventually end up in Evanston. His brother played at NU. His cousin attended school there. He also had familiarity with the coaching staff, and the proximity to his home in the Midwest essentially closed the deal.

clemson tigers

And both his current and former team are known for having the best of the best facilities wise.

“They’re both fantastic facilities, we’re spoiled rotten, we’re very blessed and grateful,” Johnson said when asked to describe and compare practice facilities.

He also made it known that he didn’t use the water slide as much as most people assumed he would have.

Clayton Thorson graduated this past year, having rewritten the NU passing record book over the course of his career. But as the school’s all-time leading passer departs, the most talented QB in school history arrives. Hunter Johnson will take over an offense that was just 99th nationally in scoring and 107th in yardage last season.

The Wildcats also break in three new starters on the offensive line, a position group that is commonly a concern in Evanston.

clemson tigers

However, the Cats also return the nucleus of a team that won the Big Ten West last season. And in Johnson, they have an upgrade at the quarterback position, talent wise.

“He can spin the crap out of the ball,” as one of his fellow NU QBs put it.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, also contributes to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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