South Carolina Transfer Quarterback Ryan Hilinski Commits to northwestern

By Kevin Sweeney

Northwestern football made a significant addition to its quarterback room via the transfer portal Tuesday when South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski announced his commitment to the Wildcats on Twitter.

A native of Orange, CA, Hilinski will join the Northwestern program with three years of eligibility. He’s expected to be immediately eligible thanks to legislation that will allow all players to transfer once without sitting out a year to be voted on later this year. The 6′ 3″ QB started 11 games as a true first-year at South Carolina before losing the starting job in 2020 to Colorado State grad transfer Collin Hill following a change at offensive coordinator. Hill played for South Carolina’s 2020 offensive playcaller Mike Bobo at CSU.

Out of high school, Hilinski was a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 64 player and and No. 2 pro-style quarterback in his class, per 247Sports. Northwestern offered Hilinski out of high school before he eventually chose the Gamecocks over a final seven that also included Arizona, Arizona State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Oregon and Texas A&M.

After enrolling early for spring practice at South Carolina, Hilinski was thrust into the starting role after quarterback Jake Bentley suffered a season-ending injury in the team’s season opener. Hilinski had a solid season considering he was thrown into the fire in perhaps the toughest league in college football, throwing 11 touchdown passes compared to just five interceptions and completing 58% of his passes. Arguably Hilinski’s top performance came in his second career start against Alabama, when he threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

Hilinski’s brother Tyler tragically died by suicide in early 2018 after playing collegiately at Washington State. In his honor, Ryan Hilinski and his family started the “Hilinski’s Hope” foundation, which raises awareness about mental health issues.

With the departure of Peyton Ramsey, Hilinski seems like the likely candidate to start at quarterback in Mike Bajakian’s offense in the 2021 season. Internal candidates Andrew Marty and Hunter Johnson could compete for the job as well. Hilinski is far less mobile than Ramsey, but has NFL-caliber size and arm talent.

The Wildcats already added Kansas transfer WR Stephon Robinson earlier this offseason.

Feature image credit: Northwestern Athletics