College Football 2023: Highest-graded players at every position through Week 3

2RTTAR7 MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 14: Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (9) runs with ball to score a touchdown during the college football game between the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats and the University of Miami Hurricanes on September 14, 2023 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

  • Tyler Van Dyke is the nation’s highest-graded quarterback: Van Dyke has earned a 94.0 grade this season, the best in the country.

  • Laiatu Latu is the highest-graded defender: The UCLA edge defender is showing why he’s a top-10 prospect on PFF’s 2024 NFL Draft big board.

  • Audric Estime is the highest-graded running back: The Notre Dame back has earned a 92.6 grade so far, and his 521 rushing yards ranks first at the position.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We’re somehow already a quarter of a way through the 2023 college football season. Here are the highest-graded Power Five and Group of Five players at every position.


Power Five: Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL) Hurricanes – 94.0

Van Dyke is finally showing why many had him as a first-round quarterback entering last season. His 10 big-time throws lead all Power Five quarterbacks, while his 85.9% adjusted completion rate is fifth.

Group of Five: Darren Grainger, Georgia State Panthers – 92.2

Grainger's 91.1 passing grade leads all Group of Five quarterbacks, and his 237 rushing yards are sixth among FBS signal-callers.

Running Back

Power Five: Audric Estime, Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 92.6

Estime is the nation’s highest-graded running back and the nation’s leading rusher. He has 521 yards through four games this season.

Group of Five: Jacory Croskey-Merritt, New Mexico Lobos – 91.3

Croskey-Merritt’s 90.2 rushing grade trails only Estime among FBS backs this season. He’s picked up a first down or touchdown on 41% of his attempts, second among Group of Five running backs.

Wide Receiver

Power Five: Xavier Restrepo, Miami (FL) Hurricanes – 91.2

Restrepo's 4.76 yards per route run leads all Power Five receivers this season, while his 11 catches of 15-plus yards are the second-most in the country.

Group of Five: Robert Lewis, Georgia State Panthers – 85.7

Robert Lewis is a menace after the catch, as his 92 receiving yards after contact are the fourth-most among FBS wide receivers.

Tight End

Power Five: Isaac Rex, BYU Cougars – 81.9

Rex is also at his best with the ball in his hands. The junior's 128 yards after the catch is second among all tight ends in the country.

Group of Five: Justin Holmes, Kent State Golden Flashes – 80.0

Holmes’ 90.2 receiving grade leads all FBS tight ends. Six of his eight catches have gone for first downs.

Offensive Tackle

Power Five: Javon Foster, Missouri Tigers – 87.8

Javon Foster was a top-10 offensive tackle in the country entering the season and has proven why. His 90.4 run-blocking grade is over four points higher than the next-closest FBS tackle.

Group of Five: Robert Wright Jr., Georgia Southern Eagles – 84.5

Wright is one of two tackles in the country with 80.0-plus pass-blocking and run-blocking grades. The other is Joe Alt, a top-10 prospect on PFF’s 2024 NFL Draft big board.

Offensive Guard

Power Five: Michael Jurgens, Wake Forest Demon Deacons – 84.4

Jurgens’ 86.0 run-blocking grade is third among all guards in the country, and he’s also given up just one pressure on 119 pass-blocking snaps.

Group of Five: Clay Webb, Jacksonville State Gamecocks – 89.2

Webb still hasn’t surrendered a pressure on 72 pass-blocking snaps, and he’s the only guard in the nation with 85.0-plus pass-blocking and run-blocking grades.


Power Five: Jackson Powers-Johnson, Oregon Ducks – 86.5

Powers-Johnson is the only center in college football who’s in the top five for both pass-blocking and run-blocking grades. In fact, nobody else in the nation is even in the top 10 for both.

Group of Five: Andrew Meyer, UTEP Miners – 76.1

Meyer is dominant in pass protection. He’s one of five centers in the country who haven’t been beaten by a defender on 100-plus pass-blocking snaps.

Interior Defensive Lineman

Power Five: Howard Cross III, Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 88.4

Cross is an all-around stud for the Fighting Irish. His run-defense grade (87.6) is fifth among all interior defensive linemen in the country, while his 83.6 pass-rushing grade is second. He’s the only FBS defensive tackle who’s in the top 10 for both.

Group of Five: Jacques Bristol, Central Michigan Chippewas – 89.9

Bristol shines in the run game. His 90.1 run-defense grade is third among all interior defensive linemen in the nation.

Edge Defender

Power Five: Laiatu Latu, UCLA Bruins – 93.9

Latu enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2022 after not playing in either of the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to a neck injury. That dominance also seems to have extended to this season, showing why we have him as a top-10 prospect in the 2024 draft. He leads all FBS defenders in overall grade and leads all edge defenders in pass-rushing grade (92.4).

Group of Five: Ben Bell, Texas State Bobcats – 91.8

Bell’s brother, Levi, was also a star defensive lineman for the Bobcats and is now in his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks. If Ben continues this level of play, he’ll join his brother in the league. His 42.4% pass-rush win rate is over eight percentage points higher than the next-closest edge defender in the country.


Power Five: Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma Sooners – 86.8

Stutsman can do it all for Oklahoma’s defense. He is one of two Power Five linebackers with 70.0-plus run-defense, pass-rush and coverage grades this season.

Group of Five: Kendre’ Grant, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns – 89.0

Grant is at his best in the run game. His 91.7 run-defense grade leads all FBS linebackers.


Power Five: Myles Jones, Duke Blue Devils – 88.8

Jones has allowed only 46.2% of his targets to be caught this season, coming down with a Power Five-leading two interceptions of his own.

Group of Five: Bo Nicolas-Paul, Army Black Knights – 86.3

Nicolas-Paul has an interception on only seven targets in his primary coverage and has allowed just 0.63 yards per coverage snap.


Power Five: Jaden Hicks, Washington State Cougars – 91.4

Hicks is the only safety in the country with 90.0-pus run-defense and coverage grades this season. He has five combined interceptions and forced incompletions. He has allowed just two receptions.

Group of Five: Dell Pettus, Troy Trojans – 89.4

This season, Pettus’ 89.7 coverage grade is third among the nation’s safeties. His five coverage stops are also tied for seventh among FBS safeties.

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