Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz Joins Transfer Portal

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Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz has decided to enter the transfer portal — one week after the Badgers announced their decision to hire former Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell for their vacant HC position.

Mertz announced his decision on social media Sunday afternoon. He will not play in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against Oklahoma State. Freshman Myles Burkett is expected to get the nod for the job, with Chase Wolf also available on Wisconsin’s QB depth.

“I am grateful for my time as a Badger, my time in Madison has taught me lessons that go far beyond the football field,” Mertz posted.

He added, “I want to thank Coach [Paul] Chryst, Coach [Bobby] Engram, Keller Chryst, our strength staff, our training room staff, and everyone that is a part of this program for making my dream come true.

“I also want to express my gratitude for the great young men I was able to play alongside. To my teammates, we’ve been through a lot, and the thing that kept us going was our love for each other, that is one thing that can never be broken.”

Mertz Ending His Time In Madison

According to early reports, Fickell did not champion Mertz’s intention to leave the program but was supportive toward the three-year player’s decision. Mertz still has two years of eligibility left.

Did the ball start rolling for Mertz to leave Wisconsin once Fickell joined the coaching staff?

Yes, but also not by Mertz’s volition.


Schematically, Mertz lacks that extra gear as a runner to fit Fickell’s system, seen in the coach’s utilization of ex-Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder, who rushed for over 2,000 yards in his 48 games for Cincinnati.

(Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As noted by OutKick’s David Hookstead, Fickell’s introduction presented Mertz with an opportunity to play on a semi-new slate with a potential move to the transfer portal after a disappointing tenure at Madison.

The four-star recruit had Badgers fans eager for more since his first start. In his first game as the Badgers’ starter, Mertz completed 14 of 14 for 190 passing yards and four TDs. Mertz had an uptick in production this past season: passing for 2,130 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

A leaky offensive line and unreliable decision-making — including some terrible INTs — did Mertz no favors with identifying himself as a bonafide starter for the Badgers. He never quite made it over that hill.

For Fickell, turning to a guy like Burkett next year could be much more suitable than going with Mertz.

Wisconsin finished 6-6. Mertz went 19-13 as the program’s starting QB.

(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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