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Former Clemson QB Hunter Johnson transfers to Northwestern

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Former Clemson quarterback and highly touted recruit Hunter Johnson is transferring to Northwestern.

Johnson will have to sit out this season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and have three years of eligibility left. Northwestern has senior Clayton Thorson coming back from a knee injury and set to start at quarterback this season.

Johnson, from Brownsburg, Indiana, was considered one of the best quarterbacks in the 2017 signing class. He worked his way up to No. 2 on Clemson's depth chart as a freshman.

"We are ecstatic to add a player of Hunter's caliber and character to our program," Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said Monday. "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's brother, Cole, played for Northwestern from 2013-16, contributing on special teams.

Hunter Johnson played in seven games last season and completed 77.8 percent of his passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Stuck between returning starter Kelly Bryant and heralded 2018 recruit Trevor Lawrence, Johnson decided to transfer after spring practice. He thanked Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers staff for their support.

"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," Johnson said. "My focus now is on doing everything in my power to help this team prepare to compete for a Big Ten West title."

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Updated June 11, 2018

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