Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei may have some competition for his starting gig next year, or at the very least, a new backup. On Monday afternoon, former Tiger Hunter Johnson announced his intention to return to the program via the transfer portal.
Johnson was originally a 5-star recruit who signed with Clemson in 2017. He spent one season with the Tigers and appeared in seven games before transferring to Northwestern. Johnson, 24, spent four seasons with the Wildcats, playing in just 11 games total and completing 95 of 183 passes. He threw eight interceptions and five touchdowns.
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Before committing to play for the Tigers for a second-time, Johnson says he originally intended to join Clemson’s staff.
“I initially reached out to Coach Swinney to honestly see if he had any GA spots…” said Johnson via 247Sports. “I reached out to (Swinney), and he asked if I had my sixth year because of COVID, and I told him I still did. It wasn’t really my intention initially of calling him.”
Johnson added: “It was pretty exciting and I took a day or so to think over things and it felt like it was a great situation for me…just being able to go finish my sixth year and play at a place I’ve grown to love over the years and be part of the (quarterback) room.”
With the Tigers in 2017, Johnson passed for 234 yards and two touchdowns for a Clemson team that won the ACC title and a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Though he spent a few years away from the program, Johnson says he never fully left Clemson behind.
“(Swinney and I) have been able to keep good contact over the years and I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” Johnson told 247Sports. “It’s cool how it’s all come full circle, and they said the same thing. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”
Johnson rejoins a Clemson team that finished the 2021 season 10-3, their 11th consecutive season of double-digit wins. They’re scheduled to open the 2022 campaign at Georgia Tech.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF