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College Football Starting QB Rankings for 2022 (Top 131)

Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide in 2021 SEC Championship Game

With fall practice underway, crucial scrimmages to settle starting jobs and depth charts on tap, and Week 0/1 preparation beginning for all 131 college football teams, it's time for Athlon Sports' annual list to evaluate and rank how every program looks at quarterback for the 2022 season. Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud top the list of best quarterbacks returning this fall, with USC's Caleb Williams and Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall headlining the next tier. The ACC and SEC are deep at quarterback in 2022, as names like Tennessee's Hendon Hooker, Miami's Tyler Van Dyke and NC State's Devin Leary should all push to be a top-10 signal-caller this year.

Ranking the quarterbacks by conference or nationally is no easy task. To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2022. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, having a clear hold on the No. 1 position, previous production/career stats, 2021 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank all 131 quarterbacks in the nation for 2022. This list could look a lot different by kickoff, especially once some of the battles are settled across the FBS level.

By Conference:

Power 5: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | QB Battles

Group of 5: AAC | C-USA | MAC | MW | Sun Belt | Transfers to Watch

College Football Starting QB Rankings for 2022 (Top 131)

131. Diego Pavia, New Mexico State
The Aggies have an open battle for the quarterback job this fall. Pavia, along with true freshman Gavin Frakes and sophomore Weston Eget, are all in the mix to start under new coach Jerry Kill. Pavia arrived in Las Cruces after playing at New Mexico Military Institute for two years. In 2021, he threw for 1,728 yards and 21 touchdowns and added 658 yards and seven scores for a team that won the NJCAA championship. Eget completed one of his 10 passes in two games of action for New Mexico State last fall. Frakes threw for 2,207 yards and 24 scores as a high school senior in Norman, Oklahoma, in '21.

130. John Paddock, Ball State
How fast (and well) Ball State replaces Drew Plitt will determine just how high coach Mike Neu's team can finish in the MAC West. Paddock worked as Plitt's backup for the last three years and completed 24 of 34 throws for 180 yards and one pick. However, Paddock's average yards per attempt was only 5.3 and his quarterback rating was 109.2 in that limited time. Paddock will have to hold off a challenge from incoming freshman Kaden Cobb this fall.

129. Brady Olson, UMass
Olson is listed here as the starter for UMass, but Zamar Wise, Garrett Dzuro or junior college recruit Gino Campiotti could start the opener at Tulane. Olson has the most experience in a UMass uniform after throwing for 1,145 yards and eight touchdowns last fall. However, his completion rate was only 48.1 percent and his yards per pass attempt checked in at 5.3. Dzuro (139) and Wise (136) add more of a running threat to the offense under new head Don Brown.

128. TJ McMahon, Rice
Getting to a bowl game would be a good step forward for Rice in coach Mike Bloomgren's fifth year. But in order to reach that goal, the Owls need major improvement on offense. Since Bloomgren's arrival, Rice has not ranked higher than eighth in Conference USA in scoring and no quarterback has produced more than 10 touchdown passes. Three signal-callers - Luke McCaffrey, Wiley Green and Jake Constantine - started under center last fall, while McMahon played in 11 games as a backup. McCaffrey was moved to receiver, and Constantine finished his eligibility, leaving Green and McMahon to battle for the job this fall. McMahon - a JUCO transfer from Cerritos College - completed 12 of 21 throws for 191 yards and two touchdowns in his limited action in '21.

127. Jack Salopek, Western Michigan
Kaleb Eleby leaves big shoes to fill in Kalamazoo after throwing for 6,084 yards and 45 touchdowns in 2018 and '20-21. Salopek worked as the No. 2 quarterback for coach Tim Lester and connected on three of five attempts for 20 yards last year. Mareyohn Hrabowski also played as more of a change-of-pace quarterback (121 rushing yards) last fall and is expected to factor into the mix. Alabama transfer Stone Hollenbach will push Salopek and Hrabowski for the starting nod this fall.

Related: Ranking All 131 College Football Teams for 2022

126. Miles Kendrick, New Mexico
Coordinator Derek Warehime and coach Danny Gonzales hope the addition of Kendrick helps to jump-start an offense that scored only 12.2 points a game in '21. Kendrick - a former JUCO prospect - arrives in Albuquerque after playing 17 contests with the Jayhawks and throwing for 853 yards and nine touchdowns over 96 completions. Kendrick's ability to make plays outside of the pocket (105 yards and a touchdown) was also on display in Lawrence and could be a valuable asset for Warehime as he hopes to guide a much-improved attack this fall.

125. Chandler Fields, Louisiana
Replacing three-year starter Levi Lewis tops the list of priorities for new coach Michael Desormeaux this fall. In addition to guiding the Ragin' Cajuns to four straight Sun Belt West Division titles (and a conference title in '21), Lewis finished his career with more than 10,000 total yards of offense. Fields has played in 13 games over the last three seasons and connected on nine of 13 throws for 106 yards and a score in limited snaps last fall. He will battle Ben Wooldridge and Lance LeGendre for the starting nod.

124. Ta'Quan Roberson, UConn
Roberson came to Penn State as a four-star prospect in the 2018 signing class and played in six games from 2019-21. The New Jersey native saw extensive action against Iowa (7-for-21 for 34 yards) when starter Sean Clifford was lost due to injury. Roberson doesn't have a ton of experience, but his recruiting profile suggests there's upside for the UConn staff to work with. If Roberson struggles, Northern Arizona transfer Cale Millen or Tyler Phommachanh would get the nod under center.

123. Matthew Downing, Louisiana Tech
Three players - Austin Kendall, Aaron Allen and JD Head - threw passes for Louisiana Tech in 2021. However, all three departed after last season. New coach Sonny Cumbie looked into his past (and the portal) for help. Downing played under Cumbie at TCU in '20 and completed 17 of 30 throws for 168 yards and a touchdown that year. Parker McNeil, who played at Texas Tech under Cumbie in '21, was also added to the roster this offseason. True freshman Landry Lyddy's development is worth monitoring this fall.

Related: Grading the New Head Coach Hires for 2022

122. Brayden Schager/Cammon Cooper, Hawaii
New coach Timmy Chang will spend the fall sifting through a wide-open quarterback battle before the opener against Vanderbilt. The Rainbow Warriors have six names vying for the job, but Cooper, Brayden Schager and Joey Yellen are likely at the front of the competition. Cooper played in six games at Washington State (2018-21) and completed 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards during that stint. Schager recorded six appearances (and three starts) for the Rainbow Warriors last fall and connected on 59 percent of his passes for 563 yards and two touchdowns to five picks. Yellen made one start in Tempe with the Sun Devils in '19 before transferring to Pitt and recording two starts for the Panthers in '20. The California native has completed 63 of 122 for 694 yards and five touchdowns to five picks at the FBS level.

121. Andrew Peasley, Wyoming
With Logan Bonner entrenched as Utah State's starter, Peasley transferred in search of playing time and didn't have to look far for his next stop. The Oregon native headed to Wyoming and is the front-runner to start over junior college recruit Evan Svoboda and freshman Hank Gibbs. Peasley recorded snaps in 19 games with the Aggies and made two starts in '20. His dual-threat ability was evident with 515 yards (9.0 per carry) over just 57 carries, but there's work to do to develop as a passer (830 yards over 70 completions and just 5.7 per attempt).

120. Matt Myers, Buffalo
Kyle Vantrease's transfer to Georgia Southern opens the quarterback battle in Buffalo between Myers and Rutgers transfer Cole Snyder. Myers holds an edge after completing 107 of 210 attempts for 1,316 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions over 18 games (and seven starts) over the last three years. The New York native is also a good runner, as evidenced by his 276 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 93 carries. Snyder played in nine games at Rutgers and threw for 165 yards and one touchdown in limited snaps. Whichever quarterback wins the job is dealing with a revamped offensive line (just one returning starter), but receiver Quian Williams and running backs Ron Cook Jr. and Mike Washington are back.

119. Riley Leonard, Duke
New coach Mike Elko has a major rebuilding effort in Durham but solving the quarterback battle between Leonard and Jordan Moore could speed up how competitive this team is in ’22. Both players saw reps as true freshmen behind starter Gunnar Holmberg (later transferred to FIU) last season but are still largely inexperienced. Leonard completed 37 of 62 throws for 381 yards and a touchdown, while Moore connected on nine of his 19 attempts for 95 yards and a score. Both quarterbacks showed an ability to churn out yardage on the ground (Moore with 221 yards and Leonard with 173), but neither ended limited playing time with their average passing yards per attempt above 6.2. The Blue Devils return four starters along the offensive line, and receiver Jalon Calhoun (56 catches) is back on the outside. Those two factors will help to ease the new Duke starter into the lineup.

118. Gunnar Holmberg, FIU
New coach Mike MacIntyre has a major rebuilding effort on his hands at FIU, but that process was aided some by a couple of additions through the portal this offseason. One of those pickups was Holmberg, who arrives in Miami after playing in 18 games (and 11 starts) at Duke. The North Carolina native received the bulk of his playing time last year, connecting on 67 percent of his passes for 2,358 yards and seven touchdowns and rushing for 167 yards over 88 attempts. Holmberg has displayed good accuracy (67.3 percent), but he connected on just five plays of 40-plus yards and didn't stretch the field with his arm (7.3 ypa). 

117. D'Wan Mathis, Temple
Mathis transferred from Georgia to Temple prior to the 2021 college football season, and as expected, the former four-star prospect earned the starting job out of fall practice. However, the Michigan native was hit by bad luck last year. Mathis was injured in the opener against Rutgers and was forced to miss the next two contests before returning in late September. He pieced together strong performances by throwing a combined five touchdowns against Wagner and Memphis but tossed only one over his next four before missing the last three games due to injury. Mathis ended '21 with 1,223 yards and six touchdowns to four picks through the air and averaged only 6.2 yards per attempt. Talent certainly isn't an issue for Mathis, so it's up to new coach Stan Drayton to help the sophomore take a step forward in '22.

116. Ryan Hilinski, Northwestern
Northwestern’s offense did not score more than 14 points in seven out of its last eight games and ended the year by averaging only 4.4 yards per play in Big Ten contests. Yikes. The passing game was a primary culprit in the offensive struggles (just 16.6 points a game for the season), as quarterbacks for the Wildcats managed to average only 57.9 in completion percentage and tossed 10 picks to 10 interceptions in Big Ten play. Also, Northwestern averaged only 5.8 yards per attempt for the season and had less than 200 passing yards in five out of the team’s final six games. Hilinski – a transfer from South Carolina – paced the offense with 978 yards in his first season and added three touchdowns to four picks in his first year with the Wildcats. The former four-star prospect will face competition from Brendan Sullivan and Carl Richardson this fall.

Related: Big Ten Football Predictions for 2022

115. Brendon Lewis, Colorado
New play-caller Mike Sanford arrives from Minnesota tasked with jump-starting an offense that averaged only 4.4 yards per play and 18.8 points a game last year. Improved play under center would significantly boost the overall production of this offense, and Lewis opens the fall as the favorite to start after throwing for 1,540 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushing for 190 yards and two scores last season. The Texas native passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns at Oregon and threw for 248 yards and two scores in a win against Arizona. However, Lewis did not eclipse more than 170 yards in any other matchup and averaged just 6.0 yards per attempt. Additionally, there’s room to improve in terms of accuracy (58 percent) and quarterback rating (11th among Pac-12 signal-callers). If Lewis doesn’t take a step forward, Tennessee transfer JT Shrout could push for the job.

114. Chandler Rogers, ULM
Rogers started his collegiate career at Southern Miss, followed by a stop at Blinn (Texas) College before his arrival in Monroe. The Texas native started six games (and recorded 12 overall appearances), throwing for 1,311 yards and nine touchdowns to just three picks. Rogers also boasted a solid completion percentage (62.6) and showcased his dangerous running ability with 363 yards and a touchdown. With a full offseason to work as the starter, along with intriguing upside, Rogers has the potential to climb this list by December.

113. Kyle Vantrease, Georgia Southern
Vantrease is an experienced arm to help Georgia Southern in its offensive transition under new coach Clay Helton. The Ohio native arrives in Statesboro after throwing for 4,755 yards and 25 touchdowns to 13 picks in 35 games at Buffalo from 2017-21. Vantrease never tossed more than 10 scores in a season but was relatively efficient (59.2 percent) and averaged 7.3 yards per attempt. Vantrease may not post huge passing totals this year, but his experience is key for an offense looking to find its footing under the new staff.

Related: Ranking All 131 College Football Teams for 2021

112. Taylor Powell, Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan is Powell's third FBS stop in his career. The Arkansas native played in 12 games at Missouri from 2018-19 and connected on 35 of 76 passes for 431 yards and one score. He transferred to Troy prior to the '21 campaign and showcased good accuracy (66.1 percent) while throwing for 1,237 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions in seven appearances. Powell lost the starting job to Gunnar Watson for the second half of the season, which prompted a transfer to Eastern Michigan to replace Ben Bryant. The Eagles have ranked among the top five teams in the MAC in pass attempts in five out of the last six years, and the supporting cast at receiver is strong with Hassan Beydoun, Tanner Knue and Dylan Drummond back out wide. Those two factors give Powell a chance to post big numbers in Ypsilanti this fall.

111. Ty Keyes, Southern Miss
Keyes isn't as proven as some of the names behind him on this list, but we think the redshirt freshman is poised to break out in 2022. A rash of injuries forced coach Will Hall to play six different quarterbacks with running back Frank Gore starting the final three games of '21 under center as a Wildcat option. Keyes - a three-star prospect in the '21 signing class - accounted for 355 passing yards and three scores and added 55 yards on the ground. Hall's offense should be in better shape going into his second year in Hattiesburg, with Keyes expected to provide a spark for this unit as he continues to develop.

110. Nate Cox/Shane Illingworth, Nevada
Not only does Nevada have to fill the void left behind by Carson Strong at quarterback, but there's a new head coach (Ken Wilson) and offensive scheme, just one returner along the line and six key receiving targets must be replaced. Cox worked as the backup to Strong for each of the last two seasons and completed 27 of 45 throws for 289 yards and two scores. He also ran for 34 yards and a touchdown. However, the 6-foot-9 signal-caller was arrested on a DUI charge in early June. His status for the start of the '22 season is uncertain. Also, there's no guarantee he wins the job out of fall practice. Illingworth - a transfer from Oklahoma State - went 3-0 as a starter in Stillwater and completed 69 of 120 throws for 939 yards and seven scores.