Clemson QB Hunter Johnson Transfers
Someone had to leave.
Let this be a cautionary tale – being a superstar quarterback prospect only matters for the right no, because there’s always someone better ready to take over.
Look at Georgia. Jacob Eason was just short of being considered the next Matthew Stafford, and then Jake Fromm led the way to the College Football Playoff National Championship appearance, and then Justin Fields was recruited and will likely take over the gig as soon as he seems comfortable.
Deshaun Watson left Clemson two years ago, and in came Hunter Johnson, a 6-3, 205-pound five-star prospect who could’ve gone anywhere, with the NFL tools and passing ability to step in and potentially play right away.
At the very least, he was supposed to be the next-superstar-up whenever he was ready.
Instead, Kelly Bryant led the Tigers to an ACC championship and another appears in the College Football Playoff. There was that, and there was the signing of Trevor Lawrence.
Johnson has the tools to become an NFL draft pick, but Lawrence has the talent to be the No. 1 overall selection.
So, with Bryant the accomplished incumbent, and Lawrence the best quarterback on the roster, Johnson made the move now to take off instead of hang around and be the No. 3 guy in the rotation.
He’s too good for that.
So where will he go? Don’t count out any Big Ten school of note – watch out for Northwestern as a sleeper – but here are the three most likely options.
3. Notre Dame
The Indiana native visited IU, and Purdue is on the radar, but he was also right there in the mix for the Irish through the process. Phil Jurkovec was the big recruit for Brian Kelly, and Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book are already in place. Johnson would be more talented than all of the options, but he’d still have to battle for the No. 1 job.
Jeremy Pruitt has made no secret that he’ll go after any and every available quarterback to beef up the position fast. Johnson didn’t visit Tennessee during his recruitment, but the school was on the radar. Jarrett Guarantano is going into his sophomore season, but if he really was the answer, Stanford grad transfer Keller Chryst wouldn’t be coming in.
1. Penn State
And here’s the right fit. Trace McSorley is done after this season, 2017 recruit Sean Clifford isn’t better than Johnson, and there’s no one in the 2018 class or currently verballed in on the 2019 radar who’s close. Yeah, Tommy Stevens has waited his turn, but he’ll be a senior next season. At worst, Johnson is the guy in 2020.