College football future Power Rankings: Quarterbacks

Sports

ESPN’s annual future power rankings series begins with the most important — and seemingly fluid — position in college football: Quarterback.

This winter didn’t feature as much movement among marquee quarterbacks as the previous transfer cycle, but notable players changed uniforms and impacted depth charts. Sam Hartman, the ACC’s touchdown passes leader, left Wake Forest for Notre Dame. Drew Pyne, who started 10 games for the Fighting Irish last season, is an Arizona State Sun Devil.

The ACC’s decorated quarterback class entering 2022 didn’t pan out and mostly splintered, as Devin Leary transferred from NC State to Kentucky, Brennan Armstrong from Virginia to NC State and D.J. Uiagalelei from Clemson to Oregon State. Two prominent ACC quarterbacks who stayed put are Florida State’s Jordan Travis and North Carolina’s Drake Maye, who will lead their teams through 2023.

Other key holdovers include USC’s Caleb Williams, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Oregon’s Bo Nix, South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Utah’s Cam Rising, LSU’s Jayden Daniels, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel, Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson, Mississippi State’s Will Rogers, UTSA’s Frank Harris and Western Kentucky’s Austin Reed, the nation’s passing yards leader in 2022.

But most if not all will be gone in 2024, and the challenge here is to project the top 25 quarterback groups in college football during the next three seasons — 2023, 2024 and 2025. Assessments are based on current rosters and committed recruits, while taking into account the likelihood of transfers, both in and out of programs. Programs that have continuity and success with coaching quarterbacks also received special consideration.

Here’s a look at last year’s quarterback rankings. Now, let’s get started.


2022 ranking: 2
Returning starter: Caleb Williams

Coach Lincoln Riley needed just one season at USC to again show he’s the sport’s premier developer of quarterbacks. Williams, who moved with Riley from Oklahoma to USC, became the third Riley-coached quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy (joining Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray). He led the nation with 42 touchdown passes and ranked third in passing yards with 4,537, while completing two-thirds of his attempts. Williams will spend one more season with the Trojans before likely becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. But USC is well stocked behind him, especially after signing Malachi Nelson, ESPN’s No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 class.

Nelson could compete with Miller Moss, who returns for his second year in Riley’s offense and third overall at USC. Moss was ESPN’s No. 39 overall recruit in the 2021 class. If he stays for 2024, he will have the experience edge over Nelson. But both are good options in the post-Williams era. The Big Ten will represent an adjustment for USC, but Riley’s long-term success with quarterbacks puts the Trojans on top.


2022 ranking: 1
Returning starter: None

Despite never winning the Big Ten with C.J. Stroud at quarterback, the Buckeyes will miss the two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, who passed for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns the past two seasons. Like Riley, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day has established enough credibility to churn out top quarterbacks every year, either from recruiting or the portal. Kyle McCord is likely the next man up. He was ESPN’s No. 31 overall recruit in 2021 and could become Ohio State’s QB1 for multiple seasons. Day also brought in Devin Brown, ESPN’s No. 81 recruit in the 2022 class, and No. 4 pocket passer.

Although Ohio State’s long-term outlook took a hit when Dylan Raiola, ESPN’s No. 1 recruit in the 2024 class, decommitted from the team, the staff acted quickly in adding Lincoln Kienholz — initially a Washington commitment — late in the 2023 cycle. The key for Ohio State is McCord or possibly Brown panning out like Stroud did, as a productive multiyear option.


2022 ranking: 7
Returning starter: Dillon Gabriel

The start of the Brent Venables era in Norman didn’t go well, but Gabriel wasn’t the problem. He passed for 3,168 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions, while adding 315 rushing yards and six scores. Despite missing a game and most of another, his numbers compared favorably to his first two seasons at UCF. He could play two more seasons at OU, which retained coordinator Jeff Lebby, and should continue to produce. Oklahoma seemingly is well-positioned for whenever Gabriel departs after signing Jackson Arnold, ESPN’s top dual-threat quarterback and No. 3 overall player in the 2023 class. Arnold earned Gatorade National Player of the Year honors after passing for 3,476 yards and 33 touchdowns as a high school senior, while adding 921 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.

Arnold should help with depth, as Oklahoma struggled mightily without Gabriel in losses to TCU and Texas. OU lost a quarterback with Nick Evers transferring to Wisconsin, but returns veteran Davis Beville for another year. If Arnold delivers on the expectations around him, the Sooners should be in very good shape under center through 2025.


2022 ranking: 5
Returning starter: None

The following sentence would have seemed improbable three years ago but is undeniably true: Georgia will really miss Stetson Bennett. The former walk-on leaves Georgia with a legacy after guiding the team to consecutive national titles when the Bulldogs had gone more than 40 years without one. Now Georgia must replace Bennett and talented offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Mike Bobo, who served as the Bulldogs’ OC from 2007 to 2014 and was an analyst last fall, will take over the offense again. Bobo had success with past Georgia quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray, but Monken helped put the team over the top.

Carson Beck enters his fourth year in the program after serving as Bennett’s long-term backup. The former ESPN 300 recruit looked sharp in limited action in 2022, completing 74.3% of his passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. He will have to fend off Brock Vandagriff, ESPN’s No. 6 pocket passer and No. 37 overall player in the 2021 recruiting class, who has just two pass attempts in his college career. Georgia signed a 2022 quarterback in Gunner Stockton but did not take one in its 2023 class, opening up the likelihood of a transfer addition if Beck and the others aren’t making enough progress.


2022 ranking: 3
Returning starter: None

Alabama is in a transition period after losing Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and an 8,200-yard passer at the school, as well as playcaller Bill O’Brien. Coach Nick Saban made an interesting hire in Tommy Rees, the 30-year-old who has spent most of his career coaching quarterbacks at Notre Dame, where he played QB. Third-year sophomore Jalen Milroe is set to compete with second-year Ty Simpson throughout the offseason. Milroe backed up Young and saw his most extensive action against Arkansas and Texas A&M after Young went out with a throwing shoulder injury. The 6-2, 212-pound Milroe, who initially committed to Texas and was ESPN’s No. 112 recruit in 2021, had 182 rushing yards in the two-game stretch while struggling at times as a passer.

Simpson was ESPN’s No. 34 overall recruit in 2022, and completed 4 of 5 pass attempts last fall. Like Milroe, he has dual-threat ability but might have a higher ceiling as a passer. Alabama also bolstered its depth in the 2023 class with quarterbacks Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan, ESPN’s Nos. 5 and 6 pocket passers in the class, and ranked No. 29 and No. 36 overall. It’s unrealistic to expect all the quarterbacks to remain in Tuscaloosa, but Saban and Rees will have enough talented options to select from in the next few seasons.


2022 ranking: 10
Returning starter: J.J. McCarthy

The McCarthy era began a year earlier than some expected, but coach Jim Harbaugh’s bold move to pick him over returning starter Cade McNamara paid off. McCarthy at first operated a safe passing game, completing at least 69% of his passes in his first six starts with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. His accuracy fell off in the second half of the season, but he also displayed big-play ability, especially when star running back Blake Corum went out with a knee injury. McCarthy had six touchdown passes and only one interception in wins over Ohio State in the regular-season finale and Purdue in the Big Ten title game. His game needs refinement, especially after he threw two pick-sixes against TCU in Michigan’s CFP semifinal loss, but the upside is extremely exciting, if Michigan is willing to turn him loose.

The question is whether McCarthy plays one or two more years at Michigan. If he departs after 2023, Michigan faces uncertainty. The team hasn’t landed another recent quarterback recruit rated anywhere near McCarthy (ESPN’s No. 25 overall). Michigan is pushing for Jadyn Davis, ESPN’s No. 3 dual-threat quarterback and No. 35 overall prospect in the 2024 class. Isaac Wilson, an ESPN 300 junior, is another option. But Michigan would benefit from two more years of McCarthy. The team also could look to the portal, where it has had success at other positions.


2022 ranking: 8
Returning starter: Quinn Ewers

Things are rarely boring at Texas, especially at the quarterback position, which could go in several directions over the next three years. Quinn Ewers is back for his second season as a Longhorn, but needs to consistently show accuracy and playmaking ability. Ewers, ESPN’s No. 2 overall recruit in 2021, spent a season at Ohio State before transferring, and finished the 2022 campaign at Texas with two of his better performances. But the arrival of Arch Manning creates an added layer of pressure on Ewers to keep developing. Ideally, Ewers holds down the QB1 spot through 2023 before giving way to Manning, the latest product from America’s most famous quarterbacking family.

Manning finished as ESPN’s No. 5 overall recruit in the 2023 class, but ranked behind quarterbacks Nelson and UCLA signee Dante Moore. He might end up pushing Ewers in 2023 before likely taking over the starting job by 2024. Not surprisingly, Texas lost Hudson Card to the transfer portal. Maalik Murphy, a second-year player with a big frame (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), could share the backup role this coming season with Manning. Murphy was ESPN’s No. 250 recruit in the 2022 class.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: None

Tennessee just missed the cut for last year’s top 25, a decision that didn’t age well as Hendon Hooker continued to shine under coach Josh Heupel and coordinator Alex Golesh. Hooker departed Knoxville after passing for 6,080 yards and 58 touchdowns in two seasons. Golesh also is moving on — taking the head-coaching job at South Florida — but the offensive structure that has transformed the program’s trajectory will remain with Heupel and new OC Joey Halzle, who has coached the Vols quarterbacks. Joe Milton III has started seasons for both Tennessee and Michigan in a fascinating college career, and will enter his final year hoping for an extended run at QB1. Milton replaced the injured Hooker late last season and won Orange Bowl MVP honors after passing for 251 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson.

The Vols could lean on Milton this fall, but incoming freshman Nico Iamaleava arrives with tremendous intrigue. The California native was ESPN’s No. 4 pocket passer and No. 23 overall player in the 2023 class. Iamaleava is set up to lead the offense in 2024 and 2025. Tayven Jackson‘s transfer to Indiana creates a need for more depth, but Tennessee is positioned well for recruits and transfers because of the appeal of its offense.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Jordan Travis

Travis’ progression is impressive but not entirely surprising, especially given coach Mike Norvell’s track record with quarterbacks. Last fall, Travis more than doubled his passing yards production from 2021, and threw 24 touchdowns against only five interceptions while adding seven rushing scores for the third consecutive season. He will have one more year at the helm of an offense that returns mostly intact and has made strides along the line and at wide receiver. Tate Rodemaker, who replaced the injured Travis during a huge road win at Louisville last fall, is back for his fourth year in the program.

FSU is also seemingly well-positioned for 2024 and 2025. The team last year signed A.J. Duffy, ESPN’s No. 3 pocket passer and No. 60 overall recruit, and he appeared in three games last fall and threw a touchdown. Duffy could be the favorite to take over in 2024, but FSU also signed Brock Glenn, a three-star prospect in the 2023 class from Memphis. The team also has a commitment from Luke Kromenhoek, an ESPN four-star in the 2024 class who, like Travis, brings a dual-threat to the backfield.


2022 ranking: 19
Returning starter: Bo Nix

Nix, who blossomed with the Ducks after an erratic career at Auburn, will be back for his final season. Last season, he set the Oregon single-season completion percentage record (71.9%), and accounted for 4,103 yards of total offense. He will work with a new coordinator in Will Stein from UTSA after Kenny Dillingham departed for the head-coaching job at Arizona State. Stein is just 33 but moved up the ranks quickly, going from Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, to UTSA OC and now Oregon.

The Ducks seemed set to turn over the offense to class of 2023 QB Dante Moore, but his pivot to UCLA changes the long-term outlook. Ty Thompson, ESPN’s No. 67 overall recruit in 2021, has remained on the roster and could be Nix’s successor in 2024. Thompson has only 35 pass attempts in two seasons at Oregon. After losing Moore, Oregon flipped Austin Novosad, a Baylor commit ranked as ESPN’s No. 271 overall prospect in the 2023 class.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Michael Penix Jr.

Washington was one of the nation’s improved teams in 2022, mainly because of a new-look offense and a revived quarterback who led the nation in passing average and total offense. Penix, who emerged under Washington coach Kalen DeBoer early in his college career at Indiana, propelled the Huskies with 10 games of 300 passing yards or more and 10 with multiple touchdown passes. The strong-armed left-hander surprised some by announcing he will return for a sixth college season. Penix’s injury history ultimately sidetracked his promising career at Indiana, but after starting every game last fall, he’s poised for another huge season and national honors consideration.

The outlook for 2024 and 2025 is a bit less clear. Sam Huard, ESPN’s highest-rated quarterback recruit in 2021 and a Washington quarterback legacy, transferred to Cal Poly in January. Washington lost Lincoln Kienholz to Ohio State and may have to look to the portal again for a 2024 option. The team did pick up Austin Mack, an ESPN four-star recruit who reclassified for the 2023 class. Washington also has 2024 prospect E.J. Caminong. But the biggest key is DeBoer’s continued presence, along with a talented offensive coaching staff led by coordinator Ryan Grubb, who was courted by Alabama but will remain with UW.


2022 ranking: 16
Returning starter: Jayden Daniels

LSU projects well at quarterback through 2025, especially with Daniels returning after an encouraging first season as a Tiger. The Arizona State transfer had career highs for completion percentage (68.3), rushing yards (885) and rushing touchdowns (11), while nearly matching his 2019 total for passing yards (2,913). He reduced his interceptions total from 10 in his final season at ASU to just three last fall. Daniels will be working with the same offensive coordinator (Mike Denbrock) and quarterbacks coach (Joe Sloan) in his final college season.

The quarterback room changed a bit as Walker Howard, ESPN’s No. 42 overall prospect in 2022, transferred to Ole Miss. But Garrett Nussmeier has remained and will enter his third season after passing for 800 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions last fall. If Nussmeier stays at LSU, he’s the likely successor to Daniels in 2024 and possibly 2025. LSU’s coaches have been impressed by his skill set and approach. But the team also signed Rickie Collins, ESPN’s No. 199 overall recruit in the 2023 class, and has a commitment from Colin Hurley, ESPN’s No. 64 prospect for 2024.


2022 ranking: 20
Returning starter: None

Notre Dame landed the biggest prize of this winter’s quarterback transfer cycle in Hartman, who started parts of the past five seasons at Wake Forest. Hartman had 110 touchdown passes and will bring production and experience to a Notre Dame offense going through some transition. The Irish promoted Gerad Parker as playcaller after a coordinator search focused on external candidates. How Hartman meshes with Parker and Notre Dame’s offense will go a long way toward determining how successful the team will be in coach Marcus Freeman’s second season.

Notre Dame lost Pyne to the transfer portal after the season. Tyler Buchner, who opened the 2022 season as the team’s QB1, remains and has three years of eligibility remaining. Buchner could be Notre Dame’s answer for 2024 and 2025, but the team has plenty of other options thanks to some strong recruiting. Steve Angeli returns for his second season, and Notre Dame adds Kenny Minchey, ESPN’s No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the 2023 class. The team also has a commitment from C.J. Carr, ESPN’s No. 29 overall prospect for 2024 and the grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.


2022 ranking: 14
Returning starter: Cam Rising

Is Utah becoming a quarterback school? Other positions have stood out more during coach Kyle Whittingham’s long tenure, but Utah is on a strong run of quarterbacks with Rising following Tyler Huntley, and should continue to thrive. Rising is back for a final season after leading Utah to consecutive Pac-12 titles. Although a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl raises some questions about his effectiveness, especially early in the 2023 season, he has already solidified legend status around the program. Rising has 5,527 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, along with 964 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, the past two seasons. He will once again work under coordinator Andy Ludwig, who nearly left for Notre Dame’s staff before returning to Utah, which wants to keep him as long as it can.

The post-Rising era has some intrigue. Walk-on Bryson Barnes has backed up Rising and provided some highlights in relief the past two seasons. But Utah is also grooming Nate Johnson, ESPN’s No. 4 dual-threat quarterback and No. 93 overall player in the 2022 class. Johnson, who completed his only pass attempt in 2022 for a 16-yard touchdown, should see more playing time this fall in preparation to likely lead the offense in 2024 and 2025. Utah also added 2023 three-star recruit Mack Howard.


2022 ranking: 11
Returning starter: None

The Sean Clifford era at Penn State included 32 victories, capped by a Rose Bowl championship, and several team passing records, but ultimately no Big Ten titles or CFP appearances. Penn State now turns to Drew Allar, its most decorated quarterback recruit (No. 51 in ESPN’s 2022 class) since Christian Hackenberg (No. 15 in 2013). The team has schematic continuity with coordinator Mike Yurcich, who enters his third season as the playcaller. Allar is set to lead the offense for at least the next two seasons. The Ohio native had 9,103 passing yards and 98 touchdowns in high school, and four touchdowns and no interceptions last year for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State’s immediate concern is depth after Christian Veilleux transferred to rival Pitt. The team is set to enter spring practice with only two other quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Beau Pribula and true freshman Jaxon Smolik, an ESPN three-star recruit from Iowa who had originally committed to Tulane. There’s a lot riding on Allar here, but he has the skill set to take Penn State a long way.


2022 ranking: 13
Returning starter: None

UCLA has been preparing for this moment, for when four-year starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson would finally depart the program. The team had one of the more interesting winters on the quarterback front, highlighted by the recruiting flip of Dante Moore from Oregon. Moore was ESPN’s No. 2 overall recruit in the 2023 class, UCLA’s most decorated offensive recruit ever and its most anticipated quarterback recruit since Josh Rosen (ESPN’s No. 50 in 2015). He could be a Day 1 starter for Chip Kelly, as his skill set in Kelly’s system could translate to another DTR-like run in Westwood. But UCLA also has other options.

Ethan Garbers, who backed up Thompson-Robinson the past two seasons, is back for his third season at UCLA and fourth in the Pac-12 (he spent his first year at Washington). UCLA also added Collin Schlee, who had 2,109 passing yards and 13 touchdowns as Kent State’s starter last season, so Kelly has some insurance if Moore isn’t ready right away. The Bruins also added a second 2023 quarterback in ESPN three-star recruit Luke Duncan.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Will Howard (part-time)

Life is good in the Little Apple, as Kansas State comes off of a Big 12 championship and returns Howard — who has started chunks of games in each of the past three seasons — as well as excellent long-term depth. Howard was very good during the league title push last fall, and finished with 1,633 pass yards and 15 touchdowns in seven games. Howard could lead the offense through 2024 if he uses his COVID season. Kansas State also received a big boost when former star quarterback Collin Klein, the team’s offensive coordinator, remained after receiving significant interest from Notre Dame.

Jake Rubley, who completed four passes last season, will likely serve as Howard’s backup in 2023. Rubley was ESPN’s No. 4 pocket passer and No. 27 overall player in the 2021 class. If he remains at K-State, he should be in line to replace Howard. The team also has second-year quarterback Adryan Lara and just signed Avery Johnson, ESPN’s No. 3 dual threat and No. 77 overall player. Kansas State might not keep everyone on the roster, but Klein and coach Chris Klieman have some nice options through 2025.


2022 ranking: 18
Returning starter: Spencer Rattler

After Rattler’s standout freshman season at Oklahoma in 2020, no one could have predicted he would still be playing college football in 2023, much less for South Carolina. But that is how his fascinating career unfolded, and South Carolina stands to benefit this fall after Rattler’s strong finish to the 2022 season. He helped the Gamecocks to signature wins over Clemson and Tennessee, and finished with 3,026 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. Rattler also became a better decision-maker, throwing just four interceptions in the final seven games after eight picks in the first six. He will be working with a new playcaller in Dowell Loggains, a former NFL offensive coordinator (Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets).

South Carolina has impressive depth, both in the short and long term. Luke Doty, who started games in 2021, is back and provides some insurance behind Rattler. Colten Gauthier, Braden Davis and Tanner Bailey competed for the third-string job last season, and all remain on the roster for now. Bailey was ESPN’s No. 5 pocket passer in the 2022 class. South Carolina also signed ESPN 300 quarterback LaNorris Sellers and has a commitment from Dante Reno, an ESPN 300 prospect in the 2024 class. Attrition is likely but the room is solid for now.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Drake Maye

UNC would be much higher if this were a one-year projection, as Maye emerged as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in 2022. He finished in the top five nationally in both passing yards (4,321) and passing touchdowns (38). Maye will be working with a new offensive coordinator in Chip Lindsey, who begins his fifth playcalling stint in the FBS (UCF, Auburn, Arizona State, Southern Miss). He’s projected as the likely No. 2 quarterback in the 2024 draft, behind USC’s Williams, and almost certainly will depart Chapel Hill after this year.

Jacolby Criswell, who competed with Maye for the starting job last offseason, transferred to Arkansas in December. There’s not much proven depth behind Maye. Projected backup Conner Harrell was an ESPN three-star recruit in the 2022 class, and North Carolina signed Tad Hudson, ESPN’s No. 9 pocket passer and No. 150 overall player, in December. The competition between Harrell and Hudson, which begins this offseason, will help chart the course for the offense in 2024. UNC also could go to the portal to replace Maye.


2022 ranking: 17
Returning starter: None

Clemson dropped 15 spots in the quarterback power rankings from 2021 to 2022. Last year’s results were better overall, but still not overly encouraging for a program that has thrived with the passing game. There’s some transition ahead, as two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei transferred to Oregon State and Clemson fired offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter before hiring TCU’s Garrett Riley, the Broyles Award winner. Riley’s task is to maximize Cade Klubnik, the decorated 2022 recruit who shined against North Carolina in the ACC championship before struggling in Clemson’s Orange Bowl loss to Tennessee. Klubnik and Riley are both Texas natives and should click, especially as Riley implements a quarterback-friendly system that helped TCU’s Max Duggan become the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season.

Klubnik could be positioned to lead Clemson at least through the 2025 season. If he struggles, Clemson likely will turn to Christopher Vizzina, ESPN’s No. 7 pocket passer and No. 42 overall prospect in the 2023 class. Arizona State transfer Paul Tyson, who began his career at Alabama, will compete with Vizzina for the backup role. Tyson, the great-grandson of former Alabama coach Bear Bryant, was the Crimson Tide’s backup QB in 2021.


2022 ranking: 12
Returning starter: Will Rogers

Rogers’ return keeps Mississippi State in these rankings despite a significant transition ahead. Coach Mike Leach’s sudden passing in December impacts the team in multiple ways, but Rogers provides leadership, reliability, production and other ingredients to guide the offense into its next phase. He followed a record-setting 2021 season with another strong set of numbers — 3,974 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, 68% completions — and enters his fourth season in the program with 33 starts in 35 games. Rogers technically could use his COVID season and play in 2024, but much will depend on how he adjusts to a new scheme under playcaller Kevin Barbay, who comes over from Appalachian State.

Assuming Rogers moves on after the 2023 season, Mississippi State has some uncertainty after the transfer departures of Sawyer Robertson (Baylor) and Braedyn Locke (Wisconsin). The team added Vanderbilt transfer Mike Wright, who started 11 games the past two seasons, and also signed Chris Parson, ESPN’s No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the 2023 class. But the approach Barbay and new head coach Zach Arnett take will be interesting to watch, especially regarding transfer quarterbacks.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Jalon Daniels

Kansas reached its first bowl since 2008 and things appear to be just getting started for the program, especially on offense. Daniels has two more seasons of eligibility left after leading the FBS in total QBR and recording 2,014 passing yards, 425 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns (18 passing, seven rushing) in only nine games. When healthy, Daniels is one of the most exciting and efficient quarterbacks in the country. Kansas also retained coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, who has orchestrated a fun and QB-friendly system, on a long-term deal. If KU can keep the Kotelnicki-Lance Leipold combination together, it should continue to produce at the quarterback spot.

The Jayhawks return a capable backup in Jason Bean, who has started games in each of the past two seasons and adds a running threat to the offense. Ethan Vasko, an ESPN three-star recruit in 2022, should be ready to contribute by 2024. Kansas did not sign a 2023 quarterback but already has a commitment from 2024 prospect Isaiah Marshall, a dual threat from Michigan.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: None

TCU didn’t appear in the last version of these rankings and finds itself in an interesting spot, after losing both quarterback Max Duggan and offensive coordinator Garrett Riley from an offense that propelled the team to the sport’s biggest stage. But there’s enough optimism after a breakthrough season, especially given coach Sonny Dykes’ track record with quarterbacks. Dykes replaced Riley with coordinator Kendal Briles, who helped KJ Jefferson develop the past two years at Arkansas and knows the Big 12 well. TCU also brings back Chandler Morris, who actually beat out Duggan for the starting job last summer and started the opener before suffering a knee injury. Morris had a record-setting performance in TCU’s upset of Baylor in 2021 and was an ESPN top 200 recruit in the 2020 class. He has three years of eligibility left.

Sam Jackson‘s transfer to Cal means third-year quarterback Josh Hoover will likely back up Morris this coming season. Hoover was an ESPN three-star recruit in the 2020 class. TCU did not sign a quarterback in 2023, and Dykes expects to be active in the portal in the next few years, especially as Briles has more input over the position.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Frank Harris

UTSA is 30-10 the past three seasons under coach Jeff Traylor, and will have a good chance at another double-digit win season this coming fall. Quarterback Frank Harris, who holds more than 30 team records, is back for a seventh season to lead the Roadrunners’ offense. Harris had 4,059 pass yards with 32 touchdowns on a 69.6% completion rate last season, building on strong numbers from 2021. He will lead UTSA into the American Athletic Conference, especially as the team goes through a coordinator transition with Will Stein’s departure to Oregon.

There are quarterback questions in 2024 and 2025, but Traylor’s track record is encouraging. Eddie Lee Marburger, who has backed up Harris and will continue to do so this fall, will have two seasons of eligibility left. UTSA signed ESPN three-star quarterback Diego Tello in the 2022 class and adds three-star Jackson Gilkey this year. The team also brings in Colorado transfer Owen McCown, who started three games as a true freshman in 2022 and is the son of longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown.


2022 ranking: Not ranked
Returning starter: Austin Reed

Coach Tyson Helton has made WKU one of the nation’s premier destinations for prolific passing offenses and quarterbacks. Over the past two seasons, the Hilltoppers lead the FBS by wide margins in both passing yards (11,001) and passing touchdowns (106). They have done it with different quarterbacks (Bailey Zappe and Reed) and different playcallers (Zach Kittley and Ben Arbuckle). Drew Hollingshead becomes the team’s third primary playcaller in as many seasons, but Reed returns after initially entering the transfer portal. The transfer from Division II West Florida surged in his first year as WKU’s starter, leading the FBS in passing yards (4,746), finishing second in passing average (339 ypg) and third in passing touchdowns (40). Reed had a staggering 907 yards and seven touchdowns in his final two games last fall.

He is set to depart after 2023, but Helton’s history with quarterbacks and playcallers suggests more success will follow. Caden Veltkamp is a big body at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, and enters his second season in the program with four years of eligibility left. Veltkamp could compete with Willie Taggart Jr., a Florida Atlantic transfer and the son and namesake of the longtime college coach and star WKU quarterback. Western Kentucky also will continue to be an attractive destination for quarterback transfers following Reed’s departure.

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