Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz to enter transfer portal

Graham Mertz plows into the end zone to give Wisconsin the lead (0:24)

Graham Mertz breaks the plane to give the Badgers the lead late in the fourth quarter. (0:24)

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, a former top-25 national recruit who started the past 32 games for the Badgers, will enter the transfer portal.

Mertz announced his decision Sunday, noting that he has two seasons of eligibility. His name does not yet appear in the portal. He had been vocal in his support for Badgers interim coach Jim Leonhard to get the permanent job, but Wisconsin instead hired Cincinnati's Luke Fickell on Nov. 27.

In a statement on Twitter, Mertz thanked former coach Paul Chryst, offensive coordinator Bobby Engram and others for "making my dream come true."

In three seasons, Mertz has 5,405 passing yards with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions, going 19-13 as Wisconsin's starting quarterback. He passed for 248 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start in 2020 but was then sidelined with COVID-19 and struggled later in the season. Mertz had uneven results the past two seasons.

He came to Wisconsin as the most decorated quarterback recruit in program history, ranked No. 21 overall by ESPN in the 2019 class. Mertz backed up Jack Coan in 2019 and then moved into the starting role the following year after Coan suffered a season-ending foot injury in training camp.