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Former 5-star QB recruit Hunter Johnson transfers to Northwestern

Pat Fitzgerald may have his 2019 starting QB lined up already. | Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

Former Clemson quarterback and five-star recruit Hunter Johnson is transferring to Northwestern, the school said Monday.

He is a huge acquisition for the Wildcats and coach Pat Fitzgerald, who now have their likely starting quarterback for 2019 in the program.

Duke, Purdue and Indiana were also in the running to land Johnson, who will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining starting in 2019.

Johnson, a native of Brownsburg, Indiana, was one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country in the Class of 2017. He was ranked the No. 2 pro-style quarterback by 247Sports. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Miami were among the powerhouse programs that offered him a scholarship.


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Clemson ultimately won out, but Johnson played sparingly as a true freshman because of the presence of Kelly Bryant. He appeared in seven games, completing 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Senior Clayton Thorson is lined up to be NU’s starter this season, but there’s going to be a big opportunity in 2019. Others expected to compete with Johnson next spring include Jason Whittaker, Andrew Marty and Aidan Smith.