College Football: Top 10 quarterback rooms ahead of the 2024 season

2W9XERX December 30, 2023:.Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Carson Beck (15) attempts a pass during the first half of the Capital One Orange Bowl between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida State University Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Ron Lane/CSM/Sipa USA (Credit Image: © Ron Lane/Cal Sport Media/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

• Georgia leads the way: The Bulldogs have the top quarterback room in college football, largely thanks to the best quarterback in the country, Carson Beck.

• Texas comes in third: The combination of Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning is enough for the Longhorns to place in the top three of this list.

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Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Quarterback is the most important position in football and, arguably, the most important in all of team sports. It’s incredibly hard to win in college football or the NFL without a capable player under center.

It’s also important to have options behind the starter in case they struggle or get injured. With that in mind, here are the 10 best quarterback rooms in college football entering the 2024 season.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

The best quarterback room in college football starts with the best quarterback in college football. Carson Beck ranked fourth among FBS signal-callers last year in overall grade, passing grade and wins above average. The only three who were more valuable were all Heisman finalists and top-15 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft: Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr. and Jayden Daniels.

Behind Beck are three players who were among the top 10 quarterback recruits in their respective high school classes: Gunner Stockton (2022), Arizona State transfer Jaden Rashada (2023) and Ryan Puglisi (2024).

2. Oregon Ducks

Even after losing a first-round quarterback in Bo Nix, Oregon still places highly on this list due to a couple of additions via the transfer portal. Dillon Gabriel comes to Eugene from Oklahoma and is my No. 2 quarterback in college football. His 91.9 grade this past season trailed only Jayden Daniels and Nix among signal-callers.

Dante Moore will serve as his backup and flashed high-level arm talent as a true freshman last year for UCLA. Despite starting only five games for the Bruins, the former top-three overall recruit placed eighth among Pac-12 quarterbacks with 14 big-time throws.

Austin Novosad is slated to be the third-stringer as a redshirt freshman and was a top-10 quarterback recruit in the 2023 class.

3. Texas Longhorns

After leading the Longhorns to the College Football Playoff and their first Big 12 title since 2009, Quinn Ewers returns for his redshirt junior campaign. His 1.7% turnover-worthy play rate ranked sixth among all quarterbacks in college football this past season, while his 85.6 passing grade placed 10th among Power Five signal-callers.

Even though Texas has a top-five quarterback in the country and the cover athlete of EA College Football 25 as its starter, many can’t wait to begin the post-Ewers era. That’s because his backup is Arch Manning, the former No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 class and the next-in-line of the Manning quarterback dynasty.

The Longhorns also welcomed true freshman Trey Owens into the fold, a top-20 quarterback recruit in the 2024 class.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

While the Buckeyes don’t have a proven star under center like the schools above them, or even directly below them, on this list, they’re certainly not lacking intriguing options. Will Howard transferred in from Kansas State and is projected to be Ohio State’s new starter. His 5% big-time throw rate since 2022 ranks fifth among Big 12 quarterbacks, and he is third in that same group with 12 rushing touchdowns over that span.

The players behind him on the depth chart are unproven but very talented. Devin Brown is entering his third year with the program and was a five-star recruit in the 2022 class. Julian Sayin is another former five-star recruit, placing second among quarterbacks and eighth overall in the 2024 cycle. Like Sayin, Air Noland is also an incoming true freshman who was a top-five quarterback recruit in 2024. Lincoln Keinholz rounds out the room and was one of the 15 best quarterback recruits in the 2023 class.

5. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama might be losing the greatest coach of all time in Nick Saban, but the team still returns a top-five quarterback in college football. Jalen Milroe is a big play waiting to happen with his elite tools. The redshirt sophomore ranked second in the nation with a 9.2% big-time throw rate in 2023, and his 35 runs of 10-plus yards were the fourth most among FBS quarterbacks. Milroe’s 96.9 passing grade on deep throws trailed only Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, as well.

Ty Simpson will once again serve as his backup, impressing in that role with an 83.5 grade on 93 snaps last year. He was also a five-star recruit and the second-ranked quarterback in the 2022 class. The Crimson Tide also have a pair of quarterbacks from the 2023 class who were top-20 recruits at the position in Dylan Lonergan and Washington transfer Austin Mack.

6. Ole Miss Rebels

Jaxson Dart is back for his third season as Ole Miss’ starting signal-caller after enjoying a career year in 2023. His 91.2 grade last season tied for sixth among all quarterbacks with Michael Penix Jr. Dart is my No. 6 quarterback in the nation entering next year.

Walker Howard appears to be the heir apparent and was a top-50 recruit in the 2022 class. Behind him are a couple of other former four-star recruits in Austin Simmons (2023 class) and AJ Maddox (2024).

7. Florida Gators

Graham Mertz enters his sixth season overall and second under center for Florida. Last year, the former Wisconsin quarterback’s 1.4% turnover-worthy play rate was the third-best mark in the country and his 77.9 passing grade was a career high.

Expectations are high for his backup, true freshman DJ Lagway, who was the top quarterback recruit in the 2024 class. The third-stringer will be Clay Millen, who started for Colorado State in 2022. His 7.3% big-time throw rate that year ranked eighth among all signal-callers in college football.

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

For the second straight season, Notre Dame will be starting an ACC transfer under center. Riley Leonard comes to South Bend from Duke and will take over for the departed Sam Hartman. He led the ACC with a 2% turnover-worthy play rate over the past two years, and his 17 rushing touchdowns in that span tied for the most.

Redshirt sophomore Steve Angeli will be his backup and impressed in that role last year, posting a 79.3 passing grade on 49 dropbacks. The Fighting Irish also have a couple of former four-star recruits behind him in redshirt freshman Kenny Minchey and true freshman CJ Carr, the latter being the No. 6 quarterback recruit in the 2024 cycle.

9. Penn State Nittany Lions

Drew Allar might be the most disrespected quarterback in college football, often receiving the blame for the offense’s struggles despite regularly being hamstrung by his environment. Allar’s 86.3 grade was a top-20 mark among FBS quarterbacks, and he ranked second to only Bo Nix in turnover-worthy play rate (1.1%). He’s one of the 10 best signal-callers in the nation right now.

Allar’s backup, Beau Pribula, posted an impressive 79.8 PFF grade on 142 snaps last season. The Nittany Lions also added true freshman Ethan Grunkemeyer to their quarterback room, the No. 9 quarterback recruit in the 2024 class.

10. Missouri Tigers

Brady Cook was perhaps the most improved quarterback in the nation last year. After posting a 66.7 passing grade in 2022, he earned an 80.0 mark this past season. He also ranks ninth among Power Five signal-callers over the past two years with 1,154 rushing yards. Cook is one of my top 10 quarterbacks in the nation heading into next year.

His backup, Drew Pyne, will be playing for his third school in as many seasons. He played only two games for Arizona State in 2023 due to injuries but was Notre Dame’s starter the year before, earning a 72.0 passing grade.

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