College Football 2023: Highest-graded players at every position through Week 9

2RX9AW6 September 23, 2023: LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) delivers a pass during NCAA football game action between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA. Jonathan Mailhes/CSM (Credit Image: © Jonathan Mailhes/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

QBs Jayden Daniels & J.J. McCarthy: The two FBS stars have each earned a 92.3 PFF grade through nine weeks, tied for the highest mark in the country.

RB Jonah Coleman, Arizona: The Arizona sophomore ranks second at his position in both rushing grade and receiving grade.

S Tyler Nubin, Minnesota: The Minnesota product is the second-ranked safety on PFF's big board, but he is the highest-graded player at the position this season.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We’re already two-thirds of the way through the 2023 college football season, and the top teams and players have separated themselves from the pack. Here are the highest-graded Power Five and Group of Five players at every position through Week 9.

Quarterback

POWER FIVE: JAYDEN DANIELS, LSU TIGERS & J.J. MCCARTHY, MICHIGAN WOLVERINES – 92.3

McCarthy and Daniels have been incredibly accurate, but they have also been terrific at pushing the ball downfield. They’re the only quarterbacks in the country to rank in the top 15 in adjusted completion rate (fourth and sixth, respectively) while having an average target depth of 10-plus yards.

GROUP OF FIVE: KAIDON SALTER, LIBERTY FLAMES – 87.0

Salter is arguably the biggest reason for Liberty’s 8-0 start. His 9.8% big-time throw rate is third among all FBS quarterbacks, while his 638 rushing yards are the fourth-most.

Running Back

POWER FIVE: JONAH COLEMAN, ARIZONA WILDCATS – 91.0

Coleman does it all for the Wildcats. Through nine weeks, he has earned a 91.7 rushing grade and an 88.7 receiving grade, both of which rank first at the position.

GROUP OF FIVE: ASHTON JEANTY, BOISE STATE BRONCOS – 90.4

Jeanty and Coleman are the only two running backs in college football with top-10 rushing and receiving grades. Jeanty’s 405 receiving yards are 59 more than the next-closest back.

Wide Receiver

POWER FIVE: MALIK NABERS, LSU TIGERS – 92.0

Nabers’ 981 receiving yards lead the nation. The junior has also proven to be one of the best deep threats in the country, as his 96.9 receiving grade on 20-plus-yard throws ranks first among all receivers in college football.

GROUP OF FIVE: CHRISHON MCCRAY, KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES – 87.2

The Kent State passing game heavily relies on McCray. The 5-foot-10 sophomore has been targeted on 34.1% of his routes this season, the fifth-highest rate in the country. McCray has been reliable enough to warrant those targets, having converted five of his seven contested catch opportunities.

Tight End

POWER FIVE: AJ BARNER, MICHIGAN WOLVERINES – 92.8

Barner is almost like a third offensive tackle for the Wolverines. The Indiana transfer’s 81.9 run-blocking grade leads all tight ends in college football this season.

GROUP OF FIVE: LINCOLN SEFCIK, SOUTH ALABAMA JAGUARS – 79.1

Sefcik is one of four college football tight ends with top-15 grades as both a receiver and run-blocker. He’s caught 89.5% of his targets this season, tied for sixth among FBS players at the position.

Offensive Tackle

POWER FIVE: JOE ALT, NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH – 89.9

Alt’s 92.8 pass-blocking grade ranks second among all tackles. He’s allowed pressure on just 1.1% of his pass-blocking snaps, also second at the position. To round it all out, the junior's 81.9 run-blocking grade is tied for sixth among FBS tackles.

GROUP OF FIVE: ADAM KARAS, AIR FORCE FALCONS – 87.4

Air Force runs the ball at the highest rate in the country, meaning their offensive linemen must be able to open up holes. Karas does just that, pacing all Group of Five tackles with an 83.9 run-blocking grade.

Offensive Guard

POWER FIVE: COOPER BEEBE, KANSAS STATE WILDCATS – 83.9

Beebe is demonstrating why he began the year as the top interior offensive lineman in the country. He’s the only Power Five guard who is top-three in both pass-blocking (third) and run-blocking grades (second). The senior also hasn’t allowed a sack since 2020.

GROUP OF FIVE: CLAY WEBB, JACKSONVILLE STATE GAMECOCKS – 88.5

Webb is the only guard with top-three grades as a pass-blocker and run-blocker, placing third in both. Amazingly, he still hasn’t given up a pressure despite playing 240 pass-blocking snaps.

Center

POWER FIVE: SEDRICK VAN PRAN, GEORGIA BULLDOGS – 82.5

SVP is one of four centers in the country with top-10 grades as a pass-blocker and run-blocker.

GROUP OF FIVE: SINCERE HAYNESWORTH, TULANE GREEN WAVE – 81.9

Haynesworth’s 84.1 run-blocking grade paces all centers in college football.

Interior Defensive Lineman

POWER FIVE: T’VONDRE SWEAT, TEXAS LONGHORNS – 90.3

Sweat is one of two defensive tackles in the country who possess a top-10 grade as a pass-rusher and run defender. The senior’s 16.3% pass-rush win rate is sixth in the nation, while his 10 tackles for loss or no gain are tied for third.

GROUP OF FIVE: EVAN ANDERSON, FAU OWLS – 84.1

Anderson eats up blocks in the run game. The 356-pounder’s 91.0 run-defense grade leads all FBS interior defensive linemen.

Edge Defender

POWER FIVE: LAIATU LATU, UCLA BRUINS – 94.2

Latu has the best comeback story in college football. While at Washington, he missed the 2020 and 2021 seasons after being forced to medically retire with a neck injury. He then transferred to UCLA and posted a 91.0 pass-rushing grade that was fourth among Power Five edge defenders.

His 25% pressure rate this season leads all FBS edge defenders, while his three forced fumbles are tied for the fourth-most among all defensive players. To top it all off, Latu also has an interception.

GROUP OF FIVE: BEN BELL, TEXAS STATE BOBCATS – 90.4

Bell has been the most efficient pass-rusher in the nation. He leads the FBS with a 31.5% pass-rush win rate, while his 23% pressure rate is third among all edge defenders.

Linebacker

POWER FIVE: EDGERRIN COOPER, TEXAS A&M AGGIES – 91.7

Cooper has been an all-around stud for the Aggies this season, posting 80.0-plus grades as a run defender, pass-rusher and in coverage. He’s the only linebacker in the country to accomplish that feat.

GROUP OF FIVE: JAILIN WALKER, JAMES MADISON DUKES – 90.4

Speaking of versatile stars, that’s exactly what Walker has been for the Dukes this season. He’s one of only three linebackers in college football with 75.0-plus grades in run defense, pass rush and in coverage.

Cornerback

POWER FIVE: SEBASTIAN CASTRO, IOWA HAWKEYES – 90.2

Castro has allowed only a 35.8 passer rating when targeted this season. For reference, spiking the ball every play nets a 39.6 rating.

GROUP OF FIVE: QUINYON MITCHELL, TOLEDO ROCKETS – 89.5

Mitchell was the highest-graded corner in the country last season, earning a 92.5 mark. He’s continuing that success this year with 12 forced incompletions, the second-most in the country.

Safety

POWER FIVE: TYLER NUBIN, MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS – 88.9

Nubin has allowed only a 20% completion rate this season, second among all safeties. He’s allowed only two catches while picking up a combined six interceptions and forced incompletions.

GROUP OF FIVE: TREY TAYLOR, AIR FORCE FALCONS – 85.8

Taylor’s 88.5 coverage grade this season is second among Group of Five safeties while still posting an impressive 78.8 run-defense grade.

Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protect your family with fast, free will.
Sponsor
College Featured Tools
  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NCAA power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NCAA player performance data.

    Available with

Subscriptions

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
OR
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit