Northwestern adds QB Ben Bryant, a former starter at Cincinnati and a Lyons alumnus, via the transfer portal

Northwestern added an experienced option to its quarterback competition when Cincinnati’s Ben Bryant announced he will spend his sixth and final college season in Evanston.

Bryant, a 2018 Lyons graduate, started the Bearcats’ first 11 games last fall before suffering a season-ending foot injury. He completed 61.2% of his passes for 2,732 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He competed this spring with former Florida and Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones for Cincinnati’s starting job before deciding to enter the transfer portal.

“Thank you Cincinnati for all you have done for me,” Bryant wrote on Twitter in announcing his commitment to Northwestern. “You will always be home. Thank you Coach Fitz for this incredible opportunity. Let’s get to work.”

This is the third time Bryant has transferred since initially signing with Cincinnati. After appearing in 15 games with one start over his first three seasons, he transferred to Eastern Michigan, where he started all 13 games in 2021 and threw for 3,121 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

With Bearcats starter Desmond Ridder moving on to the NFL in 2022, Bryant transferred back to Cincinnati for his fifth season.

He’ll compete for the Wildcats starting job with sophomore Brendan Sullivan and perhaps fifth-year senior Ryan Hilinski. Sullivan started five games last fall as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 589 yards with four touchdowns and three picks.

In two seasons since transferring from South Carolina, Hilinski has thrown for 2,622 yards with nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 17 games. He suffered a season-ending left knee injury in the second-to-last game of 2022 and sat out spring practice while recovering from surgery.

Bryant is the third transfer Northwestern has added in the spring window, joining Southern Illinois defensive end Richie Hagarty and Fresno State defensive tackle Matt Lawson.