- USC’s Caleb Williams: The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has a chance to join Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow as the best quarterback prospects in the PFF College era.
- North Carolina’s Drake Maye: The redshirt sophomore isn’t too far behind Williams and is a projected top-five pick in 2024.
- Texas’ Quinn Ewers: The redshirt sophomore has the talent to join Williams and Maye at the top of the draft, he just needs to be more consistent.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
The 2023 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, with quarterbacks Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson comprising three of the top-four picks.
Who are the signal-callers to know in the 2024 class? Here are 10 quarterbacks to watch as we head into the 2023 season.
Other position groups:
Caleb Williams, USC
Williams has an opportunity to join the likes of Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow as the best quarterback prospects in the PFF College era. In fact, his 91.3 grade at Oklahoma in 2021 was the best by a true freshman quarterback in the PFF College era, beating out Lawrence’s 90.7 mark in 2018. His encore as a sophomore was winning the Heisman Trophy.
He creates magic outside of structure, leading all quarterbacks in passing yards (707), touchdowns (seven) and big-time throws (10) in 2022. Get ready for all of the Patrick Mahomes comparisons.
????FIRST EPISODE LIVE????
My FULL interview with @uscfb quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams! (@CALEBcsw)https://t.co/mOzQgt4Jd7 pic.twitter.com/i2IwVQw5fT
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) April 17, 2023
Drake Maye, North Carolina
While Williams excels outside the pocket, Maye is lethal in it. The North Carolina quarterback’s 92.5 grade inside of the pocket led all quarterbacks in the country this past season. That’s not to say he’s a statue, though, as his 899 rushing yards were third among all FBS signal-callers. He has prototypical size at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and pairs that with a rocket right arm. Maye’s 97.5 deep passing grade and 45 big-time throws each led all quarterbacks in the country.
Every Drake Maye game features at least one ridiculous throw pic.twitter.com/9KeHgzQrwT
— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) January 20, 2023
Michael Penix Jr., Washington
Penix led the Power Five in 2022 with 4,641 passing yards. He also took incredible care of the football, as his 1.3% turnover-worthy play rate was the fifth-lowest in the country. He does have an injury history (two torn ACLs while at Indiana) and is on the older side (will be 24 years old as a rookie), but he’s the early favorite to be QB3 in what’s currently a wide-open class after Williams and Maye.
This was a BEAUTY ????
Penix finds Polk for the @UW_Football TD ???? pic.twitter.com/PddGjtdkW6
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 13, 2022
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Ewers disappointed in his first season as a starter after being one of the highest-rated quarterback recruits ever. He still flashed his ridiculous arm talent, as his 6.6% big-time throw rate stood sixth among Power Five quarterbacks. The issue is his decision-making and accuracy, as Ewers’ 65.2% adjusted completion rate was the eighth-worst in the Power Five. If he can rein it in, he has the talent to join Williams and Maye at the top of the draft.
Texas is BACK*
(*once Quinn Ewers is)
He had an elite 90.2 @PFF grade against #1 Alabama, who has arguably the best defense in college football.
On just 15 dropbacks, Ewers had three big-time throws.
Believe the hype.pic.twitter.com/pzKoR67JvI
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) September 12, 2022
Bo Nix, Oregon
Nix enjoyed a career resurgence in 2022. His 69.7% adjusted completion rate across his first three seasons at Auburn ranked just 108th among FBS quarterbacks. But this past season, Nix’s 82.3% mark led the Power Five and ranked second in the nation. He has special moments outside of structure and has the arm talent to make any throw. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares without offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who was hired to be Arizona State’s head coach.
This Bo Nix TD throw is majestic as hell pic.twitter.com/Hpx2nLOoxg
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) October 22, 2022
Jordan Travis, Florida State
Travis’ 91.7 grade ranked third among all quarterbacks in the country and led all in the Power Five this past season. The redshirt junior was the only signal-caller who placed in the top 15 in both big-time throw rate (7.1%) and turnover-worthy play rate (1.9%). Like Penix, he is a sixth-year senior but should be in the spotlight all season as a top Heisman candidate on what should be one of the best teams in the country.
“This is 1000% one of the best all-around rosters in college football heading into next season.”
Hop on the Jordan Travis/Florida State hype ???? while you can.
My conversation with the Power Five’s highest-graded quarterback @jordantrav13 for @PFF ⬇️https://t.co/72yxCWwPgl
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) January 24, 2023
Joe Milton III, Tennessee
Get ready for a laser show in Knoxville. Milton has the strongest arm in college football and quite frankly, it might not be very close. His 11.1% big-time throw rate easily led all FBS signal-callers with at least 100 dropbacks. He has fewer than 700 career snaps across his five seasons at Michigan and Tennessee, so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the starting job this season.
Joe Milton absolutely LET THIS THING FLY. pic.twitter.com/bbSXwLbllH
— SEC on CBS ???? (@SEConCBS) November 12, 2022
J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
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. He thrives outside of the original play design. McCarthy’s five passing touchdowns outside of structure were tied with Maye and trailed only Williams and Bryce Young among Power Five quarterbacks. He needs to improve his consistency, as he had four games with sub-60 grades in 2022.
Some great games this weekend! Y'all see Michigan's quarterback J.J. McCarthy scramble against Maryland? @jjmccarthy09 @UMichFootball pic.twitter.com/TkBmAQxocS
— Francis Tarkenton (@Fran_Tarkenton) September 26, 2022
Jayden Daniels, LSU
Like Nix and Penix, a new environment revived Daniels’ career. The Arizona State transfer led all quarterbacks in the country this past season with a 0.6% turnover-worthy play rate. The junior was also the only quarterback who rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Overall, only Maye and Williams were more valuable Power Five quarterbacks than the LSU signal-caller in 2022. The issue is Daniels won’t take too many shots downfield. His 8.2-yard average depth of target stood just 118th among FBS quarterbacks in 2022.
Some players wither under the bright lights.
Not Jayden Daniels.
He wanted the ball in his hands in overtime against Alabama, both on the TD and 2-point conversion.
Feature on Daniels coming May 15th! @LSUfootball x @PFF ????pic.twitter.com/xEH1gYAL10
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) April 27, 2023
Sam Hartman, Notre Dame
The former Wake Forest signal-caller is the most valuable Power Five player over the past two seasons, according to PFF’s wins above average metric. The redshirt junior’s 92.5 grade in that span trails only Young among Power Five quarterbacks. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares in a pro-style offense after playing in a slow-mesh system with the Demon Deacons.
WOW ???? @Sam_Hartman10 making it look too easy.#MustSeeACC #GoDeacs | @ACCFootball @WakeFB pic.twitter.com/okin0GYzHW
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) September 18, 2021