2023 College Football Quarterbacks - Next Man Up
As another college football season approaches, fans and analysts alike can’t help but wonder who will step up to fill the shoes of the best quarterbacks exiting the game. With several star quarterbacks like Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, and others moving on to the NFL, there are big shoes to fill at several top college football programs.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at 10 teams and evaluating the next man up for their quarterback position in the 2023 college football season. We’ll be discussing programs like the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Georgia Bulldogs, among others, and analyzing their potential quarterback options for the upcoming season. Let’s dive in and see who could be the next breakout quarterback in college football.
Replacing a Heisman at Alabama - Bryce Young (QB21 320.48 FPts, 29.13 FPPG. 3,328 pa yds 32 pa td 5 int. 185 ru yds 4 ru td)
- Jalen Milroe – At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Milroe possesses good size and athleticism for the quarterback position. He is known for his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs, and he has shown strong accuracy and decision-making skills on the field.
Overall, Jalen Milroe is a highly-touted quarterback prospect with a bright future ahead of him at the University of Alabama. As he continues to develop and gain experience at the college level, he could become one of the top quarterbacks in the country and a potential NFL draft pick in the future.
- Ty Simpson – Despite being a highly-touted five-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, Simpson saw limited action last season, throwing only five passes. Although he has been praised for his ability to throw deep passes and his aptitude as a dual-threat quarterback, his potential at the college level remains shrouded in mystery. While his performances and rankings in high school provide some insight into his abilities, his ultimate trajectory as an SEC quarterback remains entirely uncertain.
Ohio State - CJ Stroud (QB12 351.8 FPts, 29.32 FPPG. 3,688 pa yds 41 pa td 6 int. 108 ru yds 0 ru td)
- Kyle McCord – Over the past two seasons, Kyle McCord has served as the primary backup to C.J. Stroud, the Ohio State Buckeyes’ starting quarterback. As a former five-star recruit and traditional pocket passer, McCord has demonstrated success in limited game opportunities. In fact, he has an impressive career completion percentage of 70.7%. However, there are concerns about McCord’s athletic ability. He ran a lackluster 40-yard dash time of 5.07 seconds as a recruit, and like Stroud, he is not particularly known for his agility or speed. With Ohio State’s Ryan Day’s track record of developing successful quarterbacks, McCord’s lack of athleticism may not be an issue at all.
- Devin Brown – Devin Brown is an athletic and talented quarterback with impressive arm strength, capable of delivering passes with zip and velocity. He also displays the ability to make off-platform throws while maintaining the same level of velocity. He distributes the ball effectively to all areas of the field and looks comfortable rolling out to create space. Brown exhibits good timing and anticipation when throwing over the middle and possesses sound mechanics, allowing him to quickly release the football. In addition, he is a skilled athlete who can gain yards with his legs by planting his foot and making quick movements. It is said that Brown does have the tendency to chase big plays though and that could be a concern in the turnover department. Even with this issue though, he has the potential to be a multi year starter for sure!
Houston - Clayton Tune (QB6 433.2 FPts, 36.1 FPPG. 4,074 pa yds 40 pa td 10 int. 546 ru yds 5 ru td)
- Donovan Smith – Transfer from Texas Tech
- Lucas Coley – Dual Threat QB
UCLA - Dorian Thompson-Robinson (QB8 378.52 FPts, 31.54 FPPG. 3,154 pa yds 27 pa td 10 int. 646 ru yds 12 ru td)
- Dante Moore – Since his freshman year, he has been a starting player for the varsity team, demonstrating maturity and refinement, and appearing to remain composed even in high-pressure situations. He exhibits an impressive level of toughness, standing strong in the face of pressure and delivering accurate throws even while being hit. He excels at reading coverages, adeptly throwing into zones with precision. He demonstrates exceptional anticipation, quickly releasing the ball when appropriate, and throwing with the ideal touch downfield. Although his arm strength is commendable, it may not qualify as elite in terms of pure velocity. Nonetheless, he consistently displays exceptional ball placement, making him a potential multi-year college starter.
- Colin Schlee – Before entering the transfer portal, the junior quarterback accumulated 2,109 passing yards and 13 touchdowns, and also rushed for 492 yards and five touchdowns this past season for Kent State. The 2022 season marked a turning point for Schlee, as he had only thrown a total of 36 passes throughout his first two seasons at Kent. In order to surpass the highly sought-after Moore, Schlee will need to demonstrate his capabilities rather convincingly.
TCU - Max Duggan (QB7 387.04 FPts, 29.77 FPPG. 3,698 pa yds 32 pa td 8 int. 423 ru yds 9 ru td)
- Chandler Morris – While the number of games Chandler Morris has played may be limited, it would be a mistake to underestimate his potential as the frontrunner for TCU’s starting quarterback position in 2023. Despite his limited appearances, Morris has demonstrated his capability for greatness, most notably in his performance on November 6th, 2021. On that day, Morris threw for an impressive 461 yards and rushed for 78, leading the Frogs to a win against the No. 12 ranked Baylor team. This standout performance is a testament to Morris’ abilities and hints at the kind of impact he could have on the TCU offense in the upcoming season.
BYU - Jaren Hall (QB10 366.24 FPts, 30.52 FPPG. 3,171 pa yds 31 pa td 6 int. 346 ru yds 3 ru td)
- Kedon Slovis – Slovis became the starting quarterback for USC as a true freshman in 2019, after the Trojans’ starting QB, JT Daniels, suffered a season-ending injury. Slovis stepped up and had an impressive debut season, throwing for 3,502 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions while completing 71.9% of his passes. He set a USC freshman record for passing yards and touchdown passes in a season, and was named Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.
After 3 seasons at USC, he transferred to Pitt where he only passed for 10 td and 9 int.
Now the leading candidate to take over for Jaren Hall at BYU.
Tennessee - Hendon Hooker QB11 352.4 FPts, 32.04 FPPG. 3,135 pa yds, 27 pa td 2 int. 430 ru yds 5 ru td.
- Joe Milton – There are certainly questions about Milton due to prior performances but, In his second year under Josh Heupel’s system, Joe Milton demonstrated remarkable progress. He threw for 971 yards and 10 touchdowns with a flawless record of zero interceptions while achieving a 64.6% completion rate. Considering Milton’s exceptional potential, with the arguably strongest arm in college football, there is so much to be excited about surrounding his capabilities as a player for the Vols. It is Definitely hard to argue against the confidence of someone who already says, “I see myself as Tennessee’s starting quarterback.”
- Nico Iamaleava – When a five-star quarterback enrolls in a program, particularly one in which the Vols have invested heavily in, the player is often under pressure to perform and play quickly. He has made significant progress in the past year, particularly in his pocket awareness, ability to throw with anticipation, and timing. Despite having a powerful arm, he has added the ability to vary his throw speed, progress through reads and execute precise, lofted throws downfield with ease. Additionally, his impressive escape skills allow him to be as lethal out of the pocket as he is within it. Whether under pressure or on designed running plays, he poses a constant threat with his agility and is always a candidate to break away for substantial yardage.
Georgia - Stetson Bennett QB35 301.3 FPts, 23.18 FPPG. 4,127 pa yds 27 pa td 7 int. 205 ru yds and 10 ru td.
- Carson Beck – This quarterback has a classic pro-style build, with a well-filled out frame and impressive height that makes him a strong pocket passer. He is able to effectively distribute the football all across the field, thanks to his solid mechanics, above-average arm strength, and exceptional accuracy. He is also an anticipatory thrower with the ability to adjust his throw speeds, play off-balance, and manipulate his arm angles as needed. Despite his relative lack of starting experience, he demonstrates elite processing skills and is willing to take risks when needed.
As a highly competitive player, he is not afraid to get physical as a runner, and his quickness and instincts make him a force on the move. In his first year as a full-time starter, he led his team to a state championship in Florida’s highest classification, setting record-breaking passing tallies along the way.
- Brock Vandagriff – This quarterback has all the physical attributes you would expect from a prototype player in his position. He is a functional athlete on the field, with impressive testing numbers early in his high school career, including a 4.69 40-yard dash and a 4.40 shuttle as a sophomore. He moves with agility and grace in the pocket, setting and resetting quickly and demonstrating excellent body control.
His accuracy has steadily improved over the course of his high school career, as evidenced by his completion percentages of over 70.0% in his junior and senior years. He led his team to a state championship victory and posted outstanding production along the way. Although he is clearly a pass-first quarterback, he also possesses the athleticism to make plays with his legs, whether by buying time or scrambling for yardage.
One of his strengths is his ability to excel in off-schedule situations, showing impressive flexibility in varying his arm angles as needed. Overall, he is a talented and versatile player with a bright future ahead of him.
- Gunner Stockton – Despite his average height for his position, this player has a thick build and is a surprisingly talented athlete. When faced with pressure in the pocket, he uses his awareness and presence to make plays, and has a knack for buying time until he can deliver a pass downfield. Even while on the move, he keeps his eyes downfield and has the arm strength to make accurate throws with touch, allowing his receivers to make plays and gain extra yardage.
Thanks to his quick release and ability to process quickly through his progressions, he is able to make effective decisions and adapt when his initial read isn’t available. As evidenced by his combined 4,709 yards passing and rushing, along with 71 touchdowns during his junior season, his game has grown significantly over the past few years.
Florida - Anthony Richardson QB32 305.36 FPts, 25.45 FPPG. 2,549 pa yds 17 pa td 9int. 654 ru yds 9 ru td.
- Graham Mertz – 2020 season: Mertz started in six games and played in seven, completing 61.1% of his passes for 1,238 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also rushed for 67 yards and one touchdown.
2021 season: Mertz started in 11 games and played in 12, completing 63.2% of his passes for 2,010 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 40 yards and two touchdowns.
2022 season: Mertz saw his completion percentage drop for a 3rd consecutive season to 57.3% while passing for a career-high 2,136 yards and 19 TD along with 10 interceptions.
Overall, Mertz has shown flashes of brilliance as a quarterback but has also struggled with consistency at times. He will look to continue to develop his skills and lead the Gators to success in the upcoming season in a new system better suited for passers.
- Jack Miller – 4-star recruit that transferred from Ohio State a year ago that hasn’t lived up to the hype. He started one game which the Gators really struggled to move the ball against Oregon State in the bowl game. The team ended with 3 points.
- Max Brown – A 3-star QB out of high school, Brown hasn’t had the opportunity to show off his skills at the college level yet, not in football at least. Brown joined the Gators baseball team as a pitcher in 2023. Equipped with a strong arm and good size, he’s a high-upside player looking to earn his way up the depth chart this off-season.
Penn State - Sean Clifford QB44 271.02 FPts, 22.59 FPPG. In the last of his 12 seasons at PSU, he had 2,822 pa yds 24 pa td 7 int. 176 ru yds and 5 ru td.
- Drew Allar – Drew Allar is a highly anticipated player heading into the 2023 season, but the latest rankings by 247Sports have added more pressure on him. Despite having only played in a few games, Allar was ranked among the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten conference.
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