CLEMSON, S.C. (AP/WLFI) — Hunter Johnson, one of the top quarterback prospects of the 2017 recruiting class, is leaving Clemson after one season.
Johnson announced his decision through the school Monday. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback from Brownsburg, Indiana was ranked the No. 1 high-school pocket passer last year by ESPN. However, Johnson was seemingly caught between Clemson's returning senior starter in Kelly Bryant and this year's No. 1 quarterback prospect in Trevor Lawrence.
Bryant led the Tigers to the Atlantic Coast Conference title and the College Football Playoff last fall. Lawrence wowed coaches and teammates in spring practice.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was disappointed to lose Johnson, but wished him the best, saying, "Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached."
Johnson played in seven games last season, completing 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.
He thanked Clemson coaches and teammates for the last year and a half with the Tigers.
"I've met some amazing people who I will forever call family," Johnson said. "I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson."
Some speculation says Johnson could have interest in Purdue, among other schools.
Johnson will have to sit out a season per NCAA transfer rules and have three years of eligibility left at his next Division I school.
Johnson's departure is just the latest in what has become a common occurrence in college football as quarterbacks search for playing time. He's the fourth quarterback who was rated a five-star out of high school, according the 247 Sports' rankings, to transfer since the end of last season.
Shea Patterson and Jacob Eason from the 2016 recruiting class left Southeastern Conference schools and moved closer to their homes. Patterson went from Mississippi to Michigan after Ole Miss was hit by NCAA sanctions. Eason is now at Washington after two years at Georgia.
Last week, Blake Barnett from the recruiting class of 2015, transferred to his third four-year school, landing at South Florida as a graduate transfer after signing with Alabama and then spending a year at Arizona State.