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Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz says he’s entering transfer portal

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin

Nov 26, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

MADISON, Wis. - Graham Mertz is entering the transfer portal after spending the last three seasons as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback.

Mertz announced Sunday on social media he was entering the portal “in pursuit of my next opportunity.” His move comes one week after Wisconsin hired former Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell to head its program.

“I am grateful for my time as a Badger,” Mertz said in his post. “My time in Madison has taught me lessons that go far beyond the football field.”

Mertz arrived at Wisconsin as the nation’s No. 65 overall prospect in his class, according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports. He was the Badgers’ first top-100 247Sports Composite signee who didn’t play on the offensive line since 2007, when they got running back John Clay.

Mertz went 20 of 21 and threw five touchdown passes to help Wisconsin beat Illinois 45-7 in his first career start, setting a school single-game record for single-game completion percentage and tying the school single-game record for touchdown passes.

But he struggled with consistency the rest of his time with the Badgers. Wisconsin had a different offensive coordinator each of his three seasons as a starter.

Mertz has completed 59.5% of his career passes for 5,405 yards with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He completed 57.3% of his attempts for 2,136 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.

“To my teammates, we’ve been through a lot, and the thing that kept us going was our love for each other,” Mertz said in the post announcing his decision. “That is one thing that can never be broken.”