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Top 10 college football quarterbacks: Max Duggan’s Heisman candidacy comes up short

As we near the end of the 2022 college football season, we’ve witnessed outstanding quarterback play from a number of signal-callers across the nation. Some of the usual suspects return, such as Ohio State‘s C.J. Stroud and Alabama‘s Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, but we’ve also seen a new crop of top college football quarterbacks emerging, with a few others falling off the map.

These updated college football quarterback rankings are refreshed each week of the 2022 NCAA football season. Based on what we’ve seen so far, here are the best college football quarterbacks in 2022.

Best college football quarterbacks: Honorable mentions

  • Stetson Bennett, Georgia
  • Jordan Travis, Florida State
  • Cameron Rising, Utah
  • Jayden Daniels, LSU
  • Austin Reed, Western Kentucky
  • Kurtis Rourke, Ohio
  • Jake Haener, Fresno St.

Stay up to date with every game on the schedule with our College Football Games Today flagship post

10. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

NCAA Football: Cure Bowl-Northern Illinois at Coastal Carolina
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Grayson McCall stats24/22,633 (9.2 YPA)69.1%88.6

Grayson McCall is the best college football quarterback many have never seen or heard of. He plays for Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Conference — not a lot of prime-time action. But the redshirt junior has a knack for making wise reads and is an extremely efficient passer. He may not be the most exciting QB, as he doesn’t have a big arm or electric mobility, but McCall plays the position well.

McCall returned for the Sun Belt Championship, in which he played well, completing just under 71% of his passes, but ultimately the Chanticleers QB came up short against Troy. We’ll see what’s next for the signal-caller with over 8,000 passing yards to his name.

9. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

NCAA Football: Washington at UCLA
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Dorian Thompson-Robinson stats25/72,694
631 (11 TD rush)
69.8% (8.1 YPA)73.2

While he’s in his fifth season now, Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been receiving playing time for the UCLA Bruins since his freshman year. The 22-year-old’s finally putting it all together in his last chance to show NFL scouts what he can do. DTR improved his completion rate by 7.6% this season, dramatically improving his draft stock as one of the more intriguing dual-threat prospects in the class.

Related: NFL mock draft 2023: CJ Stroud, Bryce Young headline outstanding 2023 NFL Draft class

8. Bo Nix, Oregon

NCAA Football: Oregon at Colorado
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Bo Nix stats27/63,388
504 (14 TD rush)
71.5% (8.9 YPA)85.4

Transferring from Auburn proved to be a wise career move for senior QB Bo Nix. He’s producing career-highs in completion rate, passing yards, and rushing yards at Oregon. Nix’s season is going so well, he even briefly landed in the Heisman conversation. While losses to Washington and Oregon State have erased such thoughts, Nix has still been among the top-performing quarterbacks in college football this season.

7. Max Duggan, TCU

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian
Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Max Duggan stats30/43,321 (9.0 YPA)64.9%83.8

Starting for the fourth consecutive year, we’ve seen Max Duggan take his game to new heights with the Horned Frogs in 2022. Battling a calf injury, Duggan took down Texas Tech despite completing his second-lowest percentage of passes in a game this season (52.2%). Unfortunately, he wasn’t much better against Texas, averaging 4.3 yards per attempt.

It’s OK, as Duggan came back to deliver a last-second win against Baylor to remain undefeated. Taking on a stout Iowa State defense allowing just 16.5 PPG was no match for Duggan, who had his third-most efficient day of the year while racking up a season-high 62 points. He once again showed his heart, rallying to push TCU to overtime by using his wheels, which ultimately weren’t enough to maintain undefeated. Duggan’s Heisman candidacy has taken a hit.

Related: College Football Playoff 2022-’23: CFP championship odds, CFB Playoff projections

6. Michael Penix Jr., Washington

michael penix jr.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Michael Penix Jr. stats29/74,354 (8.7 YPA)66%90.1

What Penix did this season is incredible. Always battling injuries across four seasons at Indiana, Penix arrived at Washington having never topped 1,700 passing yards in a single season. But now the senior QB suddenly led the nation in passing yards after topping 300+ yards in 10-of-12 games this season. Few players stepped up more than Penix in 2022, and he is certainly among the top quarterbacks in college football. Being able to make throws as we see below, it’s hard to argue his placement among the best.

5. Drake Maye, North Carolina

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at North Carolina
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Drake Maye stats35/74,115
653 (7 TD rush)
67.2% (8.5 YPA)91.3

A redshirt freshman, Drake Maye is on his way to becoming a college superstar with the Tar Heels. This may be the first year Maye has thrown more than 10 passes, but he’s executing like a seasoned senior. Expect to see Maye among the top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, but for now, he’ll have to continue working on his craft with North Carolina.

Maye started the season extremely hot but finished on a sour note, completing 56.9% of his passes in consecutive losses to Georgia Tech and NC State, who had some bulletin board motivation. Unfortunately, Maye didn’t have any more success against a star-studded Clemson defense in the ACC Championship game.

4. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
C.J. Stroud stats37/63,340 (9.4 YPA) 66.1%84.1

Even though he’s no longer affixed at the top of these college football quarterback rankings, C.J. Stroud is among the favorites to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He brings elite arm strength, precise accuracy, and superb athleticism, but Stroud has struggled when the pocket collapses, as many young QBs do.

A chance to make a push for the Heisman Trophy against Michigan went awry, both thanks to Ryan Day’s conservative approach, in addition to two crucial mistakes by Stroud. Is this the last we see Stroud as a Buckeye?

3. Bryce Young, Alabama

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Bryce Young stats27/53,007 (8.4 YPA)64.1%91

Bryce Young made a name for himself after a Heisman-winning campaign in 2021, and the Alabama QB was back to making magic in his junior year. He hasn’t quite had as strong of a cast of teammates to work with, but Young hasn’t done anything to disprove the theory that he’s among the best quarterbacks in college football. Having missed two games due to injury, Young saved one of his best efforts for the Iron Bowl, racking up 391 total yards and four touchdowns against Auburn. We’ll see if that’s the last we hear from the Heisman winner.

2. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

NCAA Football: Florida at Tennessee
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Hendon Hooker stats27/23,135
430 (5 TD rush)
69.6% (9.5 YPA)90.9

Hendon Hooker has improved his draft stock more than any other QB prospect this season. He has a TD-to-INT ratio of 62:4 since joining Tennessee and even managed to lead the Vols to their first win over Alabama since 2006. Hooker flashed signs of being human against Georgia, where the Vols battled extreme crowd noise in Athens, leading to several false starts and an otherwise ineffective offensive attack.

But the senior got back on track, shredding Missouri for over 400 yards from scrimmage. He couldn’t carry that momentum against South Carolina, where Hooker completed less than 60% of his passes for the first time this season before tearing his ACL to wrap up his college career.

Related: Top 25 college football rankings 2022: Latest top-25 rankings

1. Caleb Williams, USC

NCAA Football: PAC-12 Football Championship-Southern California at Utah
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
TD:INTPass yardsComp ratePFF grade
Caleb Williams stats37/44,075
372 (10 TD rush)
66.1% (9.1 YPA)91

While analysts, for some reason, love comparing Caleb Williams to Patrick Mahomes, we’re not ready for such hot takes. But it is true that Williams makes the questionable plays look routine. When it comes to exciting dual-threat quarterbacks, there isn’t a more explosive athlete in college football.

Having scored four or more touchdowns in eight of his 13 games, Williams leads the nation in total touchdowns and is certainly one of college football’s best QBs. But the expected top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft couldn’t top Utah in 2022, placing a big chip on the shoulder of the mobile quarterback heading into USC’s bowl matchup.