Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.
Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.
“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.
“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”
Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.
“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”
The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.
It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.
Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is reportedly seeking to transfer to a new program, according to multiple reports Monday morning. The sophomore, a former five-star recruit in Clemson’s Class of 2017, is believed to have a desire to play for a couple of Big Ten schools.
Purdue and Northwestern have emerged as the top two potential destinations within the Big Ten, according to various reports. Johnson is an Indiana native and would figure to step right into a possible starting job with either the Boilermakers or Wildcats if he were to transfer to either Big Ten school. Of course, Johnson would have to wait until 2019 to begin playing for Purdue or Northwestern or any other FBS school due to NCAA transfer rules.
Despite Johnson’s talent and potential, it appears he got stuck in a tough spot on a Clemson roster that is overflowing with top-tier talent. With Kelly Bryant essentially cemented as Clemson’s starting quarterback, Johnson would have been waiting for his time to shine at the position, assuming he beat out the competition for the job. Clemson just added a five-star quarterback in the most recent recruiting class with Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has already enrolled and played well in the Clemson spring game, offering a glimpse to the future of Clemson’s offense once Bryant moves on.
Johnson appeared in seven games as a freshman for the ACC champion Clemson Tigers last season, in which he completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Zerrick Cooper, also a freshman last fall, appeared in three more games than Johnson as both backing up Bryant.
Purdue and Northwestern would both figure to be good landing spots for Johnson. Northwestern is preparing for one final year with Clayton Thorson at the helm, and Johnson could potentially slide right in once the 2019 season comes around after sitting out the year as a transfer. Purdue would also give Johnson a chance to shine in an offense coached by Jeff Brohm, which could rack up all kinds of attractive passing stats.
Johnson will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2018 season. He also has a redshirt option to spare.
With Clemson carrying an abundance of talent on the defensive line, a player looking to transfer for a new opportunity to get some playing time was bound to happen. Clemson defensive tackle Josh Belk will pursue an opportunity elsewhere, as he announced with a statement on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon. Clemson has released Belk from his scholarship at the player’s request.
Belk was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, according to his Rivals profile. The 6′-3″, 325 lb recruit was a massive prize for Dabo Swinney and the Tigers, especially considering in-state rival South Carolina was a runaway favorite in the recruiting process according to multiple recruiting analysts. Other schools extending offers to Belk included Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, and NC State. Belk was an early enrollee at Clemson this spring.
Making things a bit juicier with this potential transfer is the idea Belk could potentially transfer to South Carolina. A South Carolina native, Belk going from the Tigers to the Gamecocks would be quite fascinating on so many levels, although for now there is nothing tangible to suggest that will be the end result of this entire process at this time.
However, even though Belk has not been around for more than a spring semester, he will still be required to sit out the 2018 season if he transfers to another FBS program due to NCAA transfer rules. The only exception would be if Belk and his new school filed for a waiver to allow for immediate eligibility, but that can tend to be an uphill climb in this specific scenario. The good news is Belk can jump right into using a redshirt year if needed, which may have been a possible outcome for the fall even if he did stick around at Clemson.
For the second time this month, a transferring Clemson defensive lineman has found a new college football home.
On his personal Twitter account late last week, Sterling Johnson (pictured, No. 93) indicated that he would be moving on and continuing his playing career at Coastal Carolina. As Johnson left the Tigers as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play for the Sun Belt Conference school in 2018.
Not only that, the defensive tackle will have another year of eligibility that he can use in 2019.
A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2015 recruiting class, Johnson was rated as the No. 29 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 16 player at any position in the state of North Carolina. After redshirting as a true freshman, Robinson played in 11 games the past two seasons.
In early February, Johnson announced his decision to transfer from the ACC school
On May 10, West Virginia confirmed that Jabril Robinson, the defensive tackle who transferred from the Tigers in late January, had been signed by the Mountaineers.
A little over three months after leaving one Power Five program, Jabril Robinson has officially moved on to another.
Following up on reports that surfaced earlier in the day, West Virginia confirmed that Robinson has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2018-19 academic year and will continue his football playing career with the Mountaineers. The 6-2, 270-pound defensive lineman graduated from Clemson in December of last year, making him immediately eligible in his new home of Morgantown.
This will be Robinson’s final year of eligibility.
A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Robinson was rated as the No. 81 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 46 player at any position in the state of North Carolina. After redshirting as a true freshman, Robinson played in 23 games and was credited with 38 tackles, three tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.
Last season, he posted 19 of those tackles in 11 games.
Robinson becomes the third graduate transfer from a Power Five program to come to WVU this offseason, joining UCLA defensive back Denzel Fisher (HERE) and USC defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (HERE).