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Wisconsin Football: Quarterback Graham Mertz enters the transfer portal

The Badgers will be in search of a new quarterback for the 2023 season.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Badgers will have a new starting quarterback under Luke Fickell. On Sunday afternoon, Graham Mertz announced that he will be entering the transfer portal.

Fickell spoke with Mertz before the announcement: “We want nothing more than the best for him. I encouraged him to stick around here and see how the changes go.”

It’s been a very up-and-down couple of years for Mertz as QB 1 in Madison. He enrolled as Wisconsin’s highest-rated quarterback prospect of all time, fresh off of an MVP performance in the All-American Bowl.

Mertz raised the bar even higher after throwing for five touchdowns in his first career start versus Illinois in the 2020 season opener. Since then, it’s been a rocky road. As a sophomore, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns and despite putting the Badgers in a position to play in the Big Ten Championship, lost the big game in the final week of the year.

As a junior, the year was less than ideal. Mertz played for two different head coaches and was never able to get the Badgers rolling. He showed glimpses of the primed prospect Badger fans were expecting to see, setting a career-high in passing touchdowns (19), but went 6-6 and enters the portal prior to the Badger bowl game.

It’s important to give Graham credit where credit is due. Mertz has been heavily criticized for the last two years, and rightfully so. He hasn’t avoided the questions, made excuses, or called out his teammates. For that, I tip my cap.

Best of luck to Mertz wherever he ends up in the future. Thank you for your time as a Badger.