football Edit

NCAA gives Green the green light for sixth year

TJ Green played in nine games in 2018 but just one last season.
TJ Green played in nine games in 2018 but just one last season. (

Northwestern released some much-needed good news on the quarterback front on Wednesday, announcing that graduate T.J. Green has has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and will be eligible to play for the Wildcats during the upcoming 2020 season.

“Thank you to my coaches, teammates, friends, and family for supporting me throughout my recovery and rehab process,” said Green in a statement. “I’m excited to get back to work!”

Green, a former walkon, battled for the starting quarterback job last season with Hunter Johnson, a transfer from Clemson. Johnson got the start in the season opener at Stanford but was ineffective. Green came on in relief and looked promising, completing 6-of-10 passes for 62 yards before suffering a season-ending broken foot injury in the third quarter. The foot required surgery and shelved Green for the season.

The quarterback position, meanwhile, became a nightmare for Northwestern last season. Johnson wound up starting five games, Aidan Smith six and Andrew Marty started the final game against Illinois.

None were particularly effective as Northwestern's quarterbacks combined to complete just 50% of their passes for 1,404 yards, with six touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Wildcats ranked 126th in the nation in passing with 117.0 yards per game, and dead-last, 130th, in passing efficiency. while compiling a 3-9 (1-8 Big Ten) record.

Green will compete for the starting job with Johnson, a redshirt junior; Smith, a redshirt senior; Marty, a redshirt junior; Carl Richardson, a true freshman early enrollee; and possibly Jason Whittaker, a redshirt sophomore who moved from quarterback to superback only to move back to quarterback late in the year.

Marty, who led the Wildcats to a 29-10 win over the Illini for their only Big Ten victory of the season, figures to have the inside track on the starting job.

Green and Johnson were neck-and-neck last year through spring and fall camp last year, and head coach Pat Fitzgerald didn't name Johnson the starter until shortly before kickoff in the opener. Johnson, a former five-star prospect in the Class of 2017, had the superior skill set, but Green's strength was his knowledge of Northwestern's offense in his fifth year in the system.

Of course, Green won't have that advantage this year as all of Northwestern's quarterbacks will be learning a new system under new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. He replaced Mick McCall, who was dismissed after the season after 12 years at Northwestern.

Green didn't see any action in his first two years in Evanston but appeared in three games as Clayton Thorson's backup in 2017.

In 2018, Green played a critical role in NU's drive to the Big Ten West division championship, splitting time with Thorson as the Wildcats' all-time passing leader returned from a torn ACL. Green completed 20-of-36 passes for 169 yards and one interception, while adding one touchdown on the ground.

Green already has his Bachelor's degree in Economics and is pursuing his master’s degree in management studies from the Kellogg School of Business.