NFL News & Analysis

College Football 2023: Highest-graded players at every position through Week 2

2MAK5JM Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) signals during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Hawaii, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

  • Michigan has the highest-graded quarterback: J.J. McCarthy’s 94.4 grade ranks first among all signal-callers in the country.
  • Javon Foster is the highest-graded offensive lineman: The Missouri tackle is proving why we had him as a top-10 tackle entering the season.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

While most teams have only played two games, some players are starting to separate from the pack.

Here are the highest-graded Power Five and Group of Five players at every position so far.


Power Five: J.J. McCarthy, Michigan Wolverines (94.4)

McCarthy has been on fire through the first two weeks, albeit against subpar competition. His 88.9% adjusted completion rate is fourth among all FBS quarterbacks. Of all the quarterbacks in the country with no turnover-worthy plays, the junior has tossed the most big-time throws (five).

Group of Five: Michael Pratt, Tulane Green Wave (94.2)

Pratt missed Tulane’s Week 2 matchup against Ole Miss, but he was historically efficient in the opening weekend, earning a 98.5 passing grade that now stands as the second-best single-game mark of the PFF College era. The junior completed 14 of his 15 passes, the lone incompletion a drop by his receiver. Four of those 15 attempts were charted as big-time throws.


Running Back

Power Five: Jo’quavious Marks, Mississippi State Bulldogs (90.9)

Marks is a do-it-all back for the Bulldogs. He currently ranks second among all FBS backs in both rushing grade (88.9) and receiving grade (89.3).

Group of Five: Jordan Ford, Tulsa Golden Hurricane (84.1)

Marks isn’t the only one who excels in more than one aspect, as Ford is one of five Group of Five running backs who have earned 75.0-plus grades as both a rusher and pass-blocker. 

Wide Receiver

Power Five: Tahj Washington, USC Trojans (89.5)

While Washington is fourth on his team in targets, he’s made the most of them. He’s caught all nine that have come his way for 233 yards, the 10th-most in the country. His 6.13 yards per route run leads all Power Five wide receivers.

Group of Five: Dashaun Davis, Appalachian State Mountaineers (89.7)

Davis is fourth among Group of Five receivers in yards per route run this season (4.37). He’s also been targeted on 40% of his routes, tied for fifth in the country. 

Tight End

Power Five: Lake McRee, USC Trojans (76.7)

McRee has caught all eight of his targets that have come his way and has racked up 63 yards after the catch, the eighth-most among FBS tight ends.

Group of Five: Luke McGary, Tulsa Golden Hurricane (84.4)

McGary is one of only four tight ends who have posted 70.0-plus grades as both a receiver and run-blocker. His 81.0 run-blocking grade ranks fifth in the nation at the position.

Offensive Tackle

Power Five: Javon Foster, Missouri Tigers (91.1)

Javon Foster was a top-10 offensive tackle entering the season and has proven why. His 91.0 run-blocking grade is second among all FBS tackles, and he’s surrendered only one pressure on 52 pass-blocking snaps.

Group of Five: Mason Carlan, Air Force Falcons (90.7)

Air Force has thrown the ball on just 7.8% of its plays this season, the lowest rate in the country. Suffice it to say, Carlan and the rest of the Falcons’ offensive line must dominate in the run game. The senior’s done precisely that, as his 86.4 run-blocking grade is second among Group of Five tackles.

Offensive Guard

Power Five: Joe Fusile, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (84.0)

Fusile is the only guard in the country who is top-five in both pass-blocking grade (third) and run-blocking grade (fourth). He still hasn’t allowed a pressure on 72 pass-blocking snaps.

Group of Five: Clay Webb, Jacksonville State Gamecocks (89.5)

Webb is the only FBS guard with 85.0-plus pass-blocking and run-blocking grades. His 86.7 run-blocking grade leads all FBS guards. 


Power Five: Connor Tollison, Missouri Tigers (86.7)

Tollison is a road grader for the Tigers. His 87.7 run-blocking grade is over six points higher than the next-closest center in college football.

Group of Five: Andrew Meyer, UTEP Miners (76.7)

While Tollison excels in the run game, Meyer is dominant in pass protection. He still hasn’t allowed a pressure on 74 pass-blocking snaps, while his 87.7 pass-blocking grade is second in the country.

Interior Defensive Lineman

Power Five: Mason Graham, Michigan Wolverines (90.5)

Graham had an eye-popping season in 2022, earning an 80.3 grade as a true freshman. He’s continued to shine as a sophomore, with his 91.0 run-defense grade leading all Power Five interior defensive linemen.

Group of Five: Jacques Bristol, Central Michigan Chippewas (91.4)

Bristol third among FBS interior defensive linemen in run-defense grade (90.3) and third in pass-rushing grade (84.8). He’s the only defensive tackle in the country to place in the top 10 for both.

Edge Defender

Power Five: Laiatu Latu, UCLA Bruins (91.5)

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 project him as a top-10 pick in the 2024 draft. His 92.5 pass-rushing grade leads all FBS edge defenders.

Group of Five: Bo Richter, Air Force Falcons (92.2)

Richter has also shined as a pass-rusher this season. His 36.8% pass-rush win rate leads all edge defenders in the country.


Power Five: Shemar James, Florida Gators (85.5)

James is one of four FBS linebackers with 80.0-plus grades as both a run defender and in coverage. He has four stops in each aspect.

Group of Five: Desmyn Baker, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (89.0)

Baker was one of the other three linebackers who earned 80.0-plus grades in each department. He’s allowed only one catch for zero yards in coverage while coming down with an interception. 


Power Five: Jarrian Jones, Florida State Seminoles (88.5)

Despite only being targeted five times in coverage, Jones has an interception and two coverage stops.

Group of Five: Bo Nicolas-Paul, Army Black Knights (87.8)

Nicolas-Paul has an interception on only four targets in his primary coverage, and he has allowed just 0.60 yards per coverage snap.


Power Five: Donovan Kaufman, Auburn Tigers (92.3)

Kaufman is quickly establishing himself as one of the best downhill safeties in the country. His 96.6 run-defense grade leads the nation’s safeties, while his 93.9 pass-rushing grade is second.

Group of Five: Jay Stanley, Southern Miss Golden Eagles (88.7)

Stanley, meanwhile, is at his best in coverage. His 90.3 coverage grade is tied for fourth among FBS safeties. This isn’t anything new, either. Last year, Stanley's 84.8 PFF grade tied for eighth among all safeties in the country.


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