Pat Fitzgerald explains decision to name Hunter Johnson Northwestern's starting QB
Now that Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzerald has named a starting quarterback, it’s time to hear why.
“I don’t think there was any epiphany, we took a look at the metrics and we took a look at where things were at and we made a decision on who we think can win us a Big Ten championship,” Fitzgerald said on his naming of Hunter Johnson as the starter for game 1 against Michigan State.
"I don't think there was any epiphany, we took a look at the metrics and we took a look at where things were at and we made a decision on who we think can win us a Big Ten championship," Fitz said on HJ being the starter.
— Inside NU (@insidenu) August 17, 2021
The Wildcats have been looking for a replacement for last season’s starter Peyton Ramsey, and the Clemson transfer was the answer. Johnson beat out ex-South Carolina starter Ryan Hillinski and senior Andrew Marty for the starting role.
“Earned it. And he knows the rest of the QB room is going to keep pushing him every day to maintain it! #GoCats,” Fitzgerald tweeted after making the official announcement.
— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) August 17, 2021
Last season the 6-foot-2, 215 pound senior only played in two games, without logging any passing stats on the season for the Cats. During the 2019 season, Johnson started in five, and played in six games before being replaced mid-season by Aidan Smith.
At Clemson in 2017, Johnson was 21-for-27 for 234 yards, but was beat out by Kelly Bryant for the starting role before the season began. Bryant was eventually replaced by then-freshman Trevor Lawrence after just five games.
Talked with Pat Fitzgerald about #Northwestern naming Hunter Johnson as its starting QB.
"We came out of spring and this was where we were. We felt like if it was same way after two weeks, let's roll. He's just battle-scarred. He's been through a lot."https://t.co/jPpDyp3oSB
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) August 17, 2021