Best college QB's 2023 preview

College Football’s Best QB’s Heading Into 2023 Season

09 May, 2023

In the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, only three quarterbacks were selected: Bryce Young of Alabama went No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State went No. 2 to the Houston Texans, and Anthony Richardson of Florida went No. 4 to the Indianapolis Colts. The fact that Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker and Kentucky’s Will Levis both went in the second round of the draft shows how fast even the most talented athletes can lose their first-round status.

Five quarterbacks are anticipated to be selected in the first round of the early 2024 NFL Mock Draft by CBS Sports draft expert Ryan Wilson. The two most well-known players at their position going into the fall are North Carolina’s Drake Maye and USC’s Caleb Williams, who are leading the pack. Wilson’s list of other anticipated first-round choices includes Michael Penix Jr. of Washington, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Quinn Ewers of Texas.

Strong performances this fall from a variety of players at the position might raise their status, but these seven quarterbacks stand the best chance of doing so and joining the other five quarterbacks as potential first-round choices.

Best of the Best

LSU’s Jayden Daniels

After a great rookie year at Arizona State, when he passed for 2,942 yards and 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions, Daniels started to garner some draft attention. His sophomore season, which was delayed by the COVID-19 epidemic, saw him make four starts, but the following year he demonstrated his ability as a dual threat by rushing for 710 yards in addition to his 2,381 throwing yards. His 885 running yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season as a Tigers quarterback after transferring to LSU set a new school record. Daniels, who chose to return to school for one more year in order to improve his draft value and help LSU advance by moving the ball down the field more, showed potential in his debut season under Brian Kelly.

Tennessee’s Joe Milton ll

Milton may see the same ascent at Tennessee that Hendon Hooker did the previous year. Milton has a cannon for an arm, which is why the NFL hierarchy will see him favorably going into the autumn. Milton will have the opportunity to flourish under Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel and new offensive coordinator Joey Halzle, who most recently served as the quarterback coach with the Vols prior to his promotion. Prior to Hooker winning the starting job and guiding Tennessee to its greatest record in 21 years, Milton and Hooker fought it out coming into the 2022 season. Milton will have to defeat outstanding freshman Nico Iamaleava in another quarterback matchup, but it seems like he is in charge in the locker room.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy

McCarthy and Cade McNamara were rivals at quarterback before the 2017 season; however, McCarthy eventually prevailed, guiding Michigan to the Big Ten title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. After McNamara went to Iowa in the winter, McCarthy is the uncontested starter going into this season. McCarthy made a number of dubious choices in Michigan’s CFP defeat to TCU, including tossing two interceptions that were returned for scores. In the end, such mistakes caused TCU to win the game, and Michigan was defeated 51–45. As they return 84% of their offensive output from the previous season, the Wolverines will be among the top teams in the preseason rankings. If McCarthy improves his decision-making in his second full season as the starter, Michigan might be even better this season than they appear on paper. Both Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson are back, giving McCarthy two trustworthy targets to pass to this year. McCarthy, who is 6-foot-3, is a fantastic size for the position and has already shown signs that he can go high in the draft. McCarthy’s last game of the season saw him throw for a career-high 343 yards. When he hears his name called in the spring will depend on how he builds on it.

Best of the Rest

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler

Rattler was formerly thought to be a first-round lock. Then, Rattler transferred to South Carolina as soon as Caleb Williams set foot on the Oklahoma campus, earned the starting role midway through the 2021 season. Rattler decided to play one more season in Columbia, South Carolina, after a 3,000-yard throwing season with the Gamecocks in an effort to boost his reputation. Whether Rattler will exhibit the qualities this season that made evaluators fall in love with him early in his time at Oklahoma, such as his ball placement, is the greatest unknown going into the fall. Rattler will collaborate with Dowell Loggains, a new offensive coordinator who was most recently the TE coach at Arkansas. Additionally, Loggains has worked as an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach for the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets in the NFL. Can Shane Beamer and Loggains, the South Carolina coach, uncover the 2020 Rattler? He will once again be viewed as a first-round choice if they do.

Florida State’s Jordan Travis

Following a 2022 season in which he accounted for more over 3,600 yards of offense and 31 touchdowns, Travis is gaining attention as a Heisman Trophy contender. He began his college career at Louisville before switching to Florida State in 2019. His breakthrough season occurred during the Seminoles’ 10-3 run last year. In 2023, expectations for Travis and Florida State will be even higher. Travis has occasionally demonstrated his ability to deviate from the game plan and push the ball downfield, but he still has to get better at it.

Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei

This will be the highest-rated quarterback Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has worked with in his coaching tenure. Uiagalelei moved to Oregon State for a fresh start this offseason. From 2014 through 2017, Smith served as Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He collaborated with Jake Browning, another former star quarterback. Under Smith’s guidance, Browning enjoyed the finest season of his collegiate career in 2016, when Washington advanced to the CFP, and he performed like a Heisman Trophy contender. Oregon State’s quarterback play was one of its main problems despite the fact that it won 10 games previous season. Unlike at Clemson, he won’t be able to target four- and five-star wide receivers with his passes, but he will still have access to weapons like Damien Martinez (RB), Anthony Gould (WR), Silas Bolden (WR), and transfer Jermaine Terry (TE). Because he won’t be pressured to perform as he was at Clemson the instant he was given the starting job, Oregon State will be a better match for him. In this year, Uiagalelei does a complete 180-degree turn and demonstrates why he was a highly regarded talent coming out of high school. If he can accomplish that, Oregon State will contend for the Pac-12 championship, and his draft prospects might soar.

Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke

Like the other quarterbacks on this list, Van Dyke entered the 2022 season as someone who was anticipated to make a significant improvement following a strong 2021 campaign. Van Dyke, whose powerful arm made him a potential Day 1 choice, lost some time with a right shoulder injury, and Miami suffered greatly in Mario Cristobal’s 5-7 freshman season. Former offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was replaced by Houston QB coach Shannon Dawson by the Hurricanes in the summer. Van Dyke recently stated that his ball-throwing is “even better” than it was prior to his accident. He can increase his draft stock back to its prior level by enrolling in school once more. Van Dyke will be a candidate for a Day 1 pick if he truly believes what he says about his arm.

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