Football: Quarterback TJ Green granted sixth year of eligibility, will return in 2020


Daily file photo by David Lee

T.J. Green drops back to throw a pass. Green announced on Twitter that he is returning after being granted a 6th year of eligibility.

Ella Brockway, Sports Editor

Northwestern’s 2020 season just became even more interesting.

Quarterback TJ Green has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and will be eligible to compete as a graduate student during the 2020 campaign, the program announced in a Wednesday release. Green later confirmed in a tweet that he will return to NU for the upcoming season.

A former Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, Green joined the Cats as a walk-on in 2015. He saw time as Clayton Thorson’s backup during the 2018 season and was poised to have a large role in NU’s 2019 season. Green went 6-for-10 for 62 yards in the first half of the Cats’ season opener at Stanford, but suffered a foot injury in the third quarter that would require surgery and keep him out for the rest of NU’s 3-9 season.

Green’s return only intensifies what is sure to be a fascinating offseason quarterback competition. The Cats now have seven players listed as quarterbacks on the roster: Green; junior Hunter Johnson, who played in six games in 2019 after transferring from Clemson but battled inconsistency and injuries; junior Andrew Marty, who led NU to a season-ending victory over Illinois; senior Aidan Smith, who started six games and led the team in passing yards; sophomore Jason Whittaker, who split time at quarterback and superback in 2019; redshirt freshman Zac Krause; and true freshman Carl Richardson.

All seven will also have to adjust to a new offensive system under Mike Bajakian, who was hired as NU’s new offensive coordinator in December to replace former play-caller Mick McCall.

The Cats typically open spring practice at the end of February. Their first game of the 2020 season is Sept. 5 at Michigan State.

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Twitter: @ellabrockway