The Mountain West Conference has experienced a significant amount of turnover at quarterback for the 2022 college football season, but there's no doubt which signal-caller ranks atop the league this fall. Fresno State's Jake Haener is the unquestioned No. 1, with Utah State's Logan Bonner, Boise State's Hank Bachmeier and Air Force's Haaziq Daniels rounding out the next tier. Colorado State's Clay Millen and UNLV's Harrison Bailey are breakout candidates to watch this fall.
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, 2022 projection, and scheme changes (just to name a few) — were considered and projected to rank the quarterbacks in the Mountain West Conference for 2022.
Ranking the Mountain West Conference Quarterbacks for 2022
12. 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.
11. 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.
10. 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).
9. 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.
8. Harrison Bailey, UNLV
Bailey is listed here, but Cameron Friel and Doug Brumfield left spring atop the depth chart for third-year coach Marcus Arroyo. This trio of signal-callers should battle deep into the fall for the top spot, but the guess here is Bailey eventually emerges as the No. 1 quarterback. The Georgia native ranked as the No. 99 overall prospect in the '20 signing class and played in six contests (with three starts) in his first season at Tennessee. During his stint on Rocky Top, Bailey threw for 578 yards and four touchdowns and connected on 70.6 percent of his passes. Both Friel and Brumfield have flashed potential, but Bailey brings the most upside to the lineup.
7. Clay Millen, Colorado State
Millen's decision to follow new Colorado State coach Jay Norvell from Reno to Fort Collins this offseason solidified a quarterback room that has seen up-and-down play in recent years. Millen ranked as a three-star prospect in the '21 signing class and worked as the team's No. 3 quarterback to Carson Strong for two games, completing one of two throws for two yards. Although Millen is inexperienced, he's already familiar with the offensive scheme, is throwing to one of the Mountain West's top groups of receivers, and had a strong showing in the team's spring game. Don't be surprised if Millen is a breakout quarterback this fall.
6. Braxton Burmeister, San Diego State
San Diego State is the third FBS stop in Burmeister's career after he started at Oregon (2017-18) before transferring to Virginia Tech (2020-21). The former four-star prospect has played in 29 games overall since '17 and passed for 3,020 yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition to experience and being a proven quarterback at the FBS level, Burmeister's mobility (845 rushing yards) is another asset for San Diego State's offense to utilize in '22. And if Burmeister struggles, redshirt freshman Will Haskell is ready to play and brings intriguing upside to the offense.
5. Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State
Cordeiro is the third Mountain West quarterback on our list to transfer within the conference (and likely start) for the 2022 season. The Honolulu native spent the last four years at Hawaii, compiling 6,167 passing yards and 45 touchdowns over 489 completions. Also, Cordeiro connected on 59 percent of his career passes with the Rainbow Warriors and added 1,083 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns during his career in Honolulu. A strong receiving corps and likely a better fit in terms of offensive style should push Cordeiro into all-conference consideration this year.
4. Haaziq Daniels, Air Force
It's no secret Daniels is going to do most of his damage on the ground as the catalyst for Air Force's flexbone triple-option offense. However, Daniels has proven himself as a capable passer, throwing for 1,171 yards and seven touchdowns on just 103 attempts last fall. The New Jersey native torched Louisville (eight of nine for 239 yards and two touchdowns) in the First Responder Bowl and also threw for 226 yards against Army in early November. On the ground, Daniels led all Mountain West quarterbacks with 736 rushing yards and finished second on the team with 11 rushing scores. Entering his third year as the starter, Daniels should be poised for his best season at the Academy and is a big reason why Air Force can win the Mountain West this year.
3. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
Although Boise State's offensive line needs to improve, and the loss of receiver Khalil Shakir isn't going to be easy to overcome, the guess here is Bachmeier still finishes among the best quarterbacks in the Mountain West. The California native flashed potential as a freshman in 2019 (eight games) by throwing for 1,879 yards and nine touchdowns - including a strong performance at Florida State (407 yards). The abbreviated '20 season didn't allow for a full showcase of Bachmeier's growth (1,150 yards and six touchdowns), and he responded with his best statistical year in '21 (3,080 yards and 20 touchdowns). Bachmeier came up big in wins against Nevada (388 yards), Fresno State (283) and Utah State (287) and finished third among Mountain West quarterbacks in completion rate (62.8 percent). The talented senior has room to play better and is dealing with a supporting cast in transition. But if Bachmeier builds off last year, this spot might be too low.
2. Logan Bonner, Utah State
Bonner's decision to follow coach Blake Anderson from Arkansas State to Utah State paid big-time dividends for the Aggies last year. The Texas native threw for 3,628 yards and tied for the Mountain West lead in touchdown passes (36). Bonner connected on 61.3 percent of his throws, led all quarterbacks in the conference with 18 completions of 40-plus yards, and finished third in quarterback rating (154.5). The senior posted six games of at least four touchdown passes, including four (and 318 yards) in a 46-13 victory over San Diego State in the Mountain West title game. Just how important was Bonner's arrival to Utah State's offense? Consider this: The Aggies ranked last in the Mountain West in scoring (15.5) in '20. However, this unit jumped to 32.6 last fall.
1. Jake Haener, Fresno State
With Haener and a loaded receiving corps in place, Fresno State's offense should be among the best in college football this year. Also, while coach Kalen DeBoer set the foundation for the high-powered offense and will be missed, the return of Jeff Tedford on the sidelines ensures this group won't skip a beat. After a promising stint in the abbreviated 2020 season, Haener took a big step forward in a breakout year in '21. The California native played well early in a loss at Oregon (298 yards) and later torched UCLA for 455 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-37 upset at UCLA. Haener ended the season with 4,096 yards and 33 touchdowns, connected on nine completions of 50-plus yards, and finished second in the conference in quarterback rating (155.9). Contending for All-America honors - and pushing Fresno State to be a top-25 team - is within Haener's reach in '22.