12 April, 2023
Now that the last spring game is approaching, it’s time to start making predictions for the next season.
In preparation for the 2023 college football season, our authors compiled a list of the top 10 quarterbacks.
These quarterbacks, ranging from a Heisman winner to fifth-year seniors making a comeback to a historic program, will determine who makes it to the College Football Playoff and who wins the national title.
Remember these names for August practice. Autumn training will be here before you know it.
Our panel of 12 writers used a scoring system where the starting quarterback gets 10 points and the starting quarterback in tenth place gets one point.
Caleb Williams is back to USC to try to become only the second player in history to win the Heisman Trophy twice. Heisman Trust Pool in Honor of Todd Van Emst USA TODAY Sports has the photo.
Forecasted stats for the 2022 junior season include: 4,537 passing yards, 42 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 382 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and an 87.6 quarterback rating (QBR).
119 Points (11 of 12 first-place votes)
As the Trojans kick off the new season against San Jose State, Williams will be in the unique position of being a reigning Heisman Trophy winner returning on campus. Although many Heisman winners in a row have grown increasingly regular in the last decade (Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, Lamar Jackson, Bryce Young), no quarterback has ever repeated as successfully as Ohio State running back Archie Griffin. Might Williams be an outlier? Despite the low probability due to a number of circumstances, Williams will have even bigger expectations in his second season in Los Angeles. After leading the Trojans back from competitive irrelevance in Year 1, he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to deliver a conference title and a playoff berth in Year 2.
The numbers from last year are also unlikely to be repeated. Williams had a QBR of 87.6 after passing for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He had a role in 3.7 touchdowns per game on the ground and threw for another 382 yards and 10 scores. Even if Williams wins the Heisman again, USC’s position in the rankings will have more to do with the team’s better defense than with Williams himself. In any case, he’s probably playing his last year of college football before heading to the NFL.
In 2022, as a fifth-year senior, he will have the following statistics: 4,167 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 92 running yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 81.1 quarterback rating.
It’s incredible what can be accomplished with the appropriate approach and a little of fortunate injury luck. There was a time when Penix’s career seemed to be going backwards. The redshirt freshman from Tampa, Florida had a breakout season for Indiana in 2019, but his production dropped off as the season progressed. Overall QBR for Penix dropped from 81.6 in 2019 (would have placed 10th nationally with adequate snaps) to 67.7 in 2020 (44th) and then to 51.1 in 2021 (after late-2020 knee injury brought significant layer of rust into his game) (89th). His first year as a starter he completed 69% of his passes, whereas in year three he only completed 54%.
A once-promising career no longer had any appeal. Nevertheless, after recovering from his illness, Penix relocated to the Pacific Northwest to rejoin with Kalen DeBoer, his 2019 offensive coordinator at Indiana University. It was if they’d never been apart. For the first time in his career, Penix started every game and finished with a Total QBR of 81.1 after throwing for 4,641 yards and 31 touchdowns (13th). After going a combined 7-9 the last two seasons, the Huskies went 11-2 thanks in large part to his huge, accurate arm and rapid decision making. Then Penix did something even more unexpected: he decided to go back to school. When he reflected on the season, he wrote, “I realized there were so many fantastic moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW for sure there is so much more out there for this squad and the job is still not over.” His offensive line and both of his top receivers are back. Although much has been made of USC’s potential in the West, the incredibly resilient Penix and Washington might play significant roles in the Pac-12 and top-10 competitions. Connelly, William
In 2022, as a sophomore, he will have thrown for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns while throwing 7 interceptions and running for 698 yards and 7 scores, for a QBR of 82.4.
93 points (1 of 12 first-place votes)
With what happened in 2022, it’s hard to believe that this time last year, Maye was in the midst of an uncertain quarterback duel with Jacolby Criswell. In spite of not being named the starting quarterback until training camp, Maye went on to become one of the best in the country, appearing in 14 games as a starter and being named the ACC’s Offensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Offensive Rookie of the Year. His mastery of the Phil Longo playbook and his ability to make plays with his legs enabled him break several throwing and rushing touchdown records in a single season. To sum up, had Maye been draft eligible following last season, he likely would have been the first quarterback selected in the NFL.
While discussing the 2024 draft, he will undoubtedly be mentioned among the top prospects. But first, he has another year to build on his resume and try to lead North Carolina to an ACC championship. There are a lot of unknowns about this season. With Longo’s departure to Wisconsin, the team hired Chip Lindsey as their new offensive coordinator. Of course Maye had input on the new coordinator job, but there will be some growing pains as everyone adjusts to the new strategy. As Josh Downs and Antoine Green have moved on to the NFL, Maye will also have to acclimate a new crop of receivers. Despite the doubts, Maye has shown himself to be a world-class passer and dedicated student of the game, with the kind of top skill set that will put him in a position to make headlines and game-changing plays once again.
After hearing that Jordan Travis would be back for another season, hopes were raised in Tallahassee. This image was taken by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire.
Next year: 2022 as a redshirt senior: 3,124 yards passing, 24 TD passes, 5 INTs, 417 yards running, 7 rushing TDs, 85.8 QBR.
In 2019, Travis was moved to Florida State where he was deployed more as a rusher than a passer (23 rushes compared to 11 pass attempts) in order to keep defenders guessing during crucial moments. When new coach Mike Norvell showed up in 2020, his confidence was so low that he begged to trade positions merely to get on the field. Offensive coordinator at the time Kenny Dillingham strongly discouraged him. The new team had high hopes for him and intended to prove it. That’s why his rise from obscurity to prominence stands out so dramatically. Travis has dedicated a great deal of time and effort to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the country. The question is, can he still run. Absolutely. The 2022 season was his first as the full-time starter, and he put up figures not seen in Tallahassee since Jameis Winston a decade ago: 64% completion percentage, 3,214 passing yards, and 24 throwing touchdowns.
In addition to the three Heisman Trophy winners at Florida State, Travis was the fourth Seminole to record at least 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns in a single season (Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Winston in 2013). That’s a respectable group to be in. This year is predicted to be much greater than last. The Seminoles have virtually all of their key players back at receiver and running back, and they anticipate improvement on the offensive line. Before Travis’s arrival, Florida State’s offensive and receiving units were average at best. Now days, such are seen as virtues. To some extent, Travis is as well. On paper, at least, that bodes well for a successful year in the Sunshine State capital.
In 2022, as a redshirt senior, he will throw for 3,034 yards and 26 touchdowns with 8 interceptions, and run for 465 yards and 6 scores, for a QBR of 83.1.
The long hair and mustache look great on him. C.J. Stroud, Stetson Bennett, Caleb Williams, Bryce Young, and Hendon Hooker are the only quarterbacks in the previous two seasons to have a better Total QBR than Rising. Rising has been only slightly off that pace, and he is the finest quarterback college football has to offer. Two weeks into the 2021 season, he took over as the starting quarterback for Utah and has since passed for 5,572 yards, 46 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 16 sacks. In addition, he has gained almost 4 yards per carry after contact on his way to 953 rushing yards. The Utes have won two Pac-12 championships with his aid, and he has started in two Rose Bowls.
Rising has accomplished almost all there is to accomplish at this time except complete a Rose Bowl. He hurt both of them, and it appeared that his collegiate career would conclude on the sidelines in Pasadena after he participated in Utah’s 2022 Senior Day ceremony. Rising’s recent leg injury may have caused him to reevaluate his professional possibilities, and he ultimately determined that staying in Salt Lake City for another year was in his best interest. He’s “running it back,” and he’s convinced some of his doubting colleagues, including tight end Brant Kuithe and receiver Devaughn Vele, to do the same. He will give Utah a chance to win the league for a third straight year despite the fact that the conference is stacked with talented quarterbacks and serious challengers.