Football: Two-time All-Big Ten safety Brandon Joseph enters transfer portal


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Brandon Joseph jogs down the field during the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game. The two-time All-Big Ten safety announced Saturday that he is transferring to Notre Dame.

Patrick Andres, Sports Editor

Brandon Joseph — a two-time All-Big Ten safety whose 2020 season ranks among the most dominant in Northwestern’s recent athletic history — has entered the transfer portal, according to an announcement he made via Twitter early Thursday evening.

Joseph is the most high-profile Wildcat to enter the portal in the wake of the team’s second 3-9 season in three years, a record that sandwiches a division title in which he played a key role. In 2021, he recorded 79 tackles in 12 games, and intercepted passes against Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The conference’s media named him to the All-Big Ten second team, and he received honorable mention from the conference’s coaches.

A 2019 two-game cameo where Joseph tallied four tackles against Ohio State and Massachusetts gave little hint of coming attractions. In 2020, the three-star recruit from College Station, Texas played some of the best defensive football in the country. He intercepted both Iowa’s Spencer Petras and Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz twice, helping NU pull out a pair of close wins and capture its second Big Ten West championship.

It was against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship, however, that Joseph provided the defining visual of the Cats’ 2020 season. With Ohio State knocking on the door trailing 10-6 late in the first half, the consensus All-American rose high to pick off future Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields in the end zone, preserving a halftime lead for NU in its eventual 22-10 loss.

Joseph’s departure comes on the heels of a rocky first year for Cats defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil, who replaced longtime NU fixture Mike Hankwitz. The Cats allowed 29 points per game in 2021, the most points they’ve given up per game since 2010.


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