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College Football: Predicting each top-25 team's 2023 starting quarterback

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) throws a pass during the second half of the NCAA College Football National Championship game between TCU and Georgia on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. News Joshua L Jones

  • A new starter for the back-to-back champs: Now that Stetson Bennett has exhausted his eligibility, we predict redshirt junior Carson Beck will be the quarterback that’ll try to lead Georgia to a three-peat.
  • Alabama rolls with the sophomore: Former five-star recruit Ty Simpson gets the nod over the older Jalen Milroe after Milroe’s struggles this past season.
  • UCLA has a tough decision to make: Should the Bruins replace Dorian Thompson-Robinson with a proven transfer in Collin Schlee or five-star freshman Dante Moore?
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Now that the 2022 college football season has ended, it’s time to begin previewing 2023. Now, we are going to predict who will be the starting quarterback for every team that finished in the AP top-25 poll.

1. Georgia Bulldogs: Carson Beck

Stetson Bennett is gone after leading Georgia to back-to-back national championships, the first quarterback to do so since Alabama’s A.J. McCarron a decade ago. 

Filling his massive shoes will likely be either redshirt junior Carson Beck or redshirt sophomore Brock Vandagriff. While Vandagriff is a former five-star recruit, I’m picking the former to win the job. Beck served as Bennett’s backup this season and impressed with an 87.0 passing grade on 39 dropbacks. Beck completed 74% of his passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and no turnover-worthy plays in 2022. 

2. TCU Horned Frogs: Chandler Morris

Max Duggan had a season for the ages, as the senior became the first TCU quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award and was the first Horned Frog to finish top two in Heisman voting since running back Jim Swink in 1955.

However, Duggan wasn’t TCU’s opening-day starter. That would be redshirt sophomore Morris, whose knee injury in Week 1 opened the door for Duggan to take over. With Duggan now off to the NFL, Morris can once again begin the season as the starter for the Horned Frogs. Morris earned a 73.2 passing grade in 2022 on 30 dropbacks.

3. Michigan Wolverines: J.J. McCarthy

Here’s the first holdover from the 2022 season. 

McCarthy seized the starting job from Cade McNamara in the second game of the season and didn’t look back, quarterbacking Michigan to its second-straight Big Ten title and playoff berth. The junior thrives outside of the original play design. McCarthy’s five passing touchdowns outside of structure were tied with Drake Maye and trailed only Caleb Williams and Bryce Young among Power-Five quarterbacks. 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes: Kyle McCord

C.J. Stroud’s decision on whether to enter the NFL draft or stay in school came down to the final day. Ultimately, the redshirt sophomore declared for the 2023 draft.

Perhaps the only Buckeyes happy by that news were McCord and Devin Brown, who’ll battle to take over the most quarterback-friendly offense in college football. Both were former five-star recruits, but I give McCord the edge because he’s a year older and served as Stroud’s backup the past two seasons. The junior impressed on limited snaps this season with an 84.2% adjusted completion rate. McCord was also Marvin Harrison Jr.’s quarterback in high school, who’s easily the best receiver in the country heading into next season.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide: Ty Simpson

Bryce Young leaves Alabama as the first quarterback in program history to take home the Heisman Trophy and is the top prospect on PFF’s 2023 NFL Draft big board

His replacement will be either Jalen Milroe or Simpson. Milroe is a year older and was the backup this season, as the redshirt sophomore even started against Texas A&M when Young was out with a shoulder injury. However, Milroe looked far from ready as a passer, as his 30.3 passing grade this season was the lowest in the country among quarterbacks with at least 75 dropbacks. His 10.3% turnover-worthy play rate was also the highest among that same group, and he didn’t produce any big-time throws.

Simpson served as Alabama’s third-string quarterback this year as a true freshman and is a former five-star recruit. He completed four of his five passes this year for 35 yards and a 68.1 passing grade. Unless Milroe drastically improves as a passer, this job should be Simpson’s to lose.


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