March is a great time of the year to be a college basketball fan. For college football fans, however, we're staring down a lot of offseason before teams return to action in late August. We haven't even gotten to the meat of spring practice, which is the time of year when we convince ourselves that spring games are fun and interesting.
Reminder: They aren't.
While it may be the offseason, that doesn't mean we need to stop ranking things. Beginning in the 2022 regular season, I ranked our most powerful quarterbacks, so it only makes sense that I continue to rank them in the offseason. After all, there are some major shakeups as some of the country's best signal-callers are now preparing for the NFL Draft while other big names have returned. How have these changes shuffled the order? Luckily for us, many names that could've left are coming back (thank you, NIL!), so the sport remains in a strong at its most high-profile position. That made putting this list together more difficult, but I included one significant rule to make life easier.
Eventually, when the winners of QB battles at places like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State are settled, it's logical to expect the winners will make their way into the rankings; being the starting QB for a national title contender is a powerful position. But they won't be in my power rankings until they've been named the starter.
As my grandma always used to say, "if ya ain't playin, ya ain't power rankin'." Let's get to it.
Caleb Williams USC Trojans QB
|Caleb Williams finished the season as our No. 1 quarterback before winning the Heisman. If not for a hamstring injury during the Pac-12 Championship Game, it's possible he and the Trojans could've earned a College Football Playoff berth. That loss and the Cotton Bowl loss to Tulane weren't enough to justify knocking him from his perch. He'll enter 2023 as the favorite to repeat as Heisman winner and the popular pick to go No. 1 in the 2024 NFL Draft. Basically, he checks every single box for No. 1 in a list of QB Power Rankings.|
Michael Penix Jr. Washington Huskies QB
|I was surprised and pleased when Michael Penix Jr . announced his return to Washington for another season. He has the kind of electric arm I believed would be intriguing to NFL teams, so I thought he'd be moving on. Instead, we get to watch him throw lasers all over the field in the Pac-12 for another season. Seeing how Penix performs with expectations raised rather than as an "under-the-radar" bounce back candidate will be interesting.|
Drake Maye North Carolina Tar Heels QB
|Maye's situation at North Carolina will be interesting. There was speculation that he'd transfer this offseason if a school offered him a giant bag of cash, but he opted to stay with the Tar Heels. That's great. Unfortunately, his offensive coordinator, Phil Longo, left to take the same gig under Luke Fickell at Wisconsin . Now Maye will enter the 2023 season with a new play-caller in Chip Lindsey. Will he flourish in the new offense or struggle to adjust?|
Jordan Travis Florida State Seminoles QB
|Florida State's already been a roller coaster for me. Toward the end of the season, I tried to get ahead of the "Florida State and Jordan Travis are darkhorse playoff contenders in 2023" wave, but while I expected to have others hop on, I didn't expect quite as many to follow. It's enough to make me wonder if I should temper expectations. Nah, screw it. Jordan Travis at No. 4. THE NOLES ARE BACK!|
Bo Nix Oregon Ducks QB
|I was not as surprised to see Bo Nix return to Oregon as Penix to Washington because Nix never struck me as a QB who could go early enough in the draft that the money would be too big a difference. He was a revelation last year as he thrived in the Pac-12, and this year he can only improve his draft stock. He could also help lead Oregon to a Pac-12 title and maybe a playoff berth. While the Pac-12 is on shaky ground as a conference, having three QBs in the top five is pretty nice.|
Michael Pratt Tulane Green Wave QB
|Pratt gets the "I beat Caleb Williams and USC in the Cotton Bowl" bump here, moving to No. 6. Like Maye, there was speculation that Pratt would transfer to a bigger program ( Notre Dame and Florida were mentioned a lot), but he chose to return to New Orleans. With the AAC losing three of its top programs to the Big 12, there's a good chance Pratt and the Green Wave can repeat as conference champions and earn another New Year's Six berth.|
J.J. McCarthy Michigan Wolverines QB
|Things did not end well for J.J. McCarthy and the Michigan Wolverines , but that doesn't change the fact he led them to a Big Ten title and the College Football Playoff. Another offseason as the team's starter means there's a good chance we could see McCarthy take a step forward as a player next season. If that's the case, Michigan will once again be in contention for the Big Ten and CFP.|
Sam Hartman Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB
|Sam Hartman has been one of the most productive QBs in the country the last few years, and he did so playing for a Wake Forest team that consistently punched above its weight. Now Hartman will don the golden domes of the Fighting Irish and play in a program with far loftier expectations. It's a move that made sense for both parties. Hartman wants to show NFL teams he's not a product of Wake's unique offense, and Notre Dame wanted to upgrade at QB, hoping it can get back to the CFP.|
Jayden Daniels LSU Tigers QB
|Jayden Daniels played well for LSU last season, and while I considered ranking him higher, some believe there's a chance -- slim as it may be -- that Daniels won't be LSU's starter come the fall. Maybe that'll be the case, but if LSU starts the year ranked in the top 10 and viewed as a playoff contender, Daniels' 2022 performance will be a big reason why. He has to be included here.|
Dillon Gabriel Oklahoma Sooners QB
|I have a hard time believing Oklahoma won't be better in 2023 simply because it's Oklahoma and its track record suggests 2022 is far more likely to be a blip than a trend. Besides, for all the faults the Sooners had in 2022, Gabriel was a consistent bright spot. I won't be surprised if he puts up monster numbers and Oklahoma is back to competing for a Big 12 title.|
Honorable Mention: Frank Harris, UTSA; K.J. Jefferson, Arkansas; Quinn Ewers, Texas; Shedeur Sanders, Colorado; Spencer Rattler, South Carolina