Before spring football starts to kick in – and with several transfers still up in the air – who has the best, worst, and in-between quarterback situations and depth charts.
How do all the quarterback situations look a few weeks before going into spring football?
It’s obviously the most important position, and it’s what everyone focuses on and cares about. For those teams with a battle for the job, it’ll be the daily story up until the opener.
Some situations are settled with superstars, but there’s eo depth. Some teams have a slew of great talents, but no sure thing No. 1.
So, based on a combination of established starter, experience, talented backups, options, and possibilities for each depth chart – remember what happened to Florida State last year – here’s the first-look ranking of how good all 130 quarterback situations are going into the spring session.
Obviously, this will change in a huge, HUGE way as the offseason goes on. But to start the fun as a baseline …
130. UTEP Miners
Prespring Projected Starter: Ryan Metz, Sr.
One of the nation’s least efficient passing games needs the new coaching staff to find a good starter to build around right away. A healthy Metz will help.
129. Rice Owls
Prespring Projected Starter: Miklo Smalls, Soph.
There are options, but they aren’t all the great. Sam Glaesmann will push Smalls to see who can get the O going.
128. Charlotte 49ers
Prespring Projected Starter: Hasaan Klugh, Sr.
Klugh didn’t have anything to work with last season. He’s a dual-threat playmaker, but the passing game was miserable. There has to be more production from the position.
127. Akron Zips
Prespring Projected Starter: Kato Nelson, Soph.
There will be a three-way battle for the starting job, but no matter who wins it, he has to boost up an offense that went nowhere way too often.
126. Ball State Cardinals
Prespring Projected Starter: Riley Neal, Sr.
Can Texas A&M transfer Hank Hughes play a role? Neal was hurt last year, but he’s the No. 1 to start. The offense needs something, anything, to get going. It needs a healthy quarterback.
125. Georgia State Panthers
Prespring Projected Starter: Aaron Winchester, Jr.
Conner Manning threw for over 3,100 yards and was a decent, veteran leader of an offense that struggled way too often. He’s gone, and now Winchester has to be fantastic with no experience behind him.
124. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Prespring Projected Starter: Cole McDonald, Soph.
The transfer of Dru Brown is a problem. The Hawaii O struggled, and now it’ll be up to McDonald and a slew of freshmen to try fixing the glitch.
123. San Jose State Spartans
Prespring Projected Starter: Montel Aaron, Soph.
There are veteran options, but now they all need to be better. Aaron will push with Josh Love and others to boost the nation’s 121st offense.
122. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Prespring Projected Starter: Kilton Anderson, Sr.
Can Chance Thrasher be back after getting hurt? Anderson wasn’t too bad at times, but the accuracy wasn’t there. He threw seven touchdowns with just three picks, but the O needs more.
121. Old Dominion Monarchs
Prespring Projected Starter: Steven Williams, Soph.
It’ll be a battle for the job throughout the spring, and there are veterans, but the offense that wasn’t explosive needs a playmaker to rise up.
120. UTSA Roadrunners
Prespring Projected Starter: Bryce Rivers, Soph.
The Roadrunners have options, and Rivers has a little bit of experience, but the offense that did next to nothing let year has to hope and pray for the new recruits to step up and produce.
119. New Mexico State Aggies
Prespring Projected Starter: Nick Jeanty, Sr.
Tyler Rogers handled almost all of the work, but he’s gone. Jeanty threw one touchdown pass and four picks in his time logged in, but JUCO transfer Matthew Romero will push for the job.
118. East Carolina Pirates
Prespring Projected Starter: Reid Herring, Soph.
There’s still a shot that Gardner Minshew is back this fall, but he’s leaving the program for family issues. The door is open for him to come back, but now that he’s gone, it’ll be up to Herring – a pro-style passer – to step in and produce this spring. Three-star, dual-threat recruit Holton Ahlers might be a factor.
117. Texas State
Prespring Projected Starter: Willie Jones III, Soph.
The pressure is on Jones to make the offense move now that Damian Williams is gone. There’s a problem if he’s not great, with the underclassmen and recruiting class needing to come up with a few possibilities.
116. Kent State Golden Flashes
Prespring Projected Starter: Woody Barrett, Jr.
At least there’s hope now with Auburn transfer Barrett coming in to try saving the miserable Golden Flash offense. It’s asking the world for him to take the O from nothing to decent.
115. Liberty Flames
Prespring Projected Starter: Stephen Calvert, Jr.
It obviously happened at the lower level, but the Flames got a great season out of Calvert – 29 touchdowns and six picks. Backup Mason Cunningham is back, too.
114. New Mexico Lobos
Prespring Projected Starter: Tevaka Tuiloti, Soph.
Tuloti became a key part of the puzzle as the season went on, but there’s still not going to be a any passing game. As long as he runs well and gets the O moving, all will be fine – now he has to prove he can do it. Colton Gerhard has a little time logged in. JUCO transfer Sheriron Jones will get his shot.
113. Connecticut Huskies
Prespring Projected Starter: David Pindell, Sr.
Bryant Shirreffs is gone, but Pindell is back – he threw four touchdown passes and six picks. JUCO transfer Steve Krajewski and junior Brandon Bisack will battle for the starting gig.
112. Marshall Thundering Herd
Prespring Projected Starter: Isaiah Green, RFr.
It was a disaster when Chase Litton chose to turn pro early, and now the Thundering Herd will be scrambling under new offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey. Four inexperienced options will battle it out – guess that Green will be the best of the bunch, and sophomore Garet Morrell won’t be far behind.
111. FIU Golden Panthers
Prespring Projected Starter: Napoleon Maxwell, Sr.
Alex McGough is done after being around the program for, seemingly, forever. Maxwell needs time, Shawndarrius Phillips is a dangerous option, and true freshman Caleb Lynum will get a shot.
110. Central Michigan Chippewas
Prespring Projected Starter: Tony Poljan, Soph.
Okay, so now what? Shane Morris threw too many picks, but now he’s gone. Poljan got in a little bit of work, and was okay in his limited time – but he needs more time. There’s no one behind him, needing pro-style freshman George Pearson to rise up right away.
109. Utah State Aggies
Prespring Projected Starter: Jordan Love, Soph.
Love took over late in the year for Kent Myers, and he was fine, not amazing. He has to be more efficient and consistent, or senior D.J. Nelson has to become a factor.
108. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Prespring Projected Starter: Jordan Davis, Sr.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have experience, but Davis has to be better after throwing ten touchdown passes and eight interceptions before getting hurt. Andre Nunez is an okay No. 2 – or 1A, depending how the spring goes – and Levi Lewis got a little experience as the No. 3.
107. Appalachian State Mountaineers
Prespring Projected Starter: Zac Thomas, Soph.
The quarterback situation will be fine in time, but losing a longtime veteran in Taylor Lamb hurts. Thomas got in a few throws last season, and sophomore Jacob Huesman at least saw the field.
106. Army Black Knights
Prespring Projected Starter: Luke Langdon, Sr.
Yeah, it’s Army, so it’s simply plug-and-play into the system and everything will be fine. However, the offense has to replace the 1,746 rushing yards and 14 scores from Ahmad Bradshaw. Langdon has a little bit of experience, and Chris Carter can throw a wee bit.
105. South Alabama Jaguars
Prespring Projected Starter: Cole Garvin, Sr.
The new coaching staff has experience to work with in Garvin, Dallas Davis and Evan Orth. Now they all have to be better.
104. Georgia Southern Eagles
Prespring Projected Starter: Shai Werts, Soph.
For what Georgia Southern does, Werts is fine – he’s a great runner, and Kado Brown can handle the offense, too. There won’t be any consistent passing game, and the quarterbacks have to be stronger and more consistent.
103. BYU Cougars
Prespring Projected Starter: Beau Hoge, Soph.
Here’s the problem. BYU has a TON of quarterbacks to play around with, but unless Tanner Mangum can return from his torn Achilles’ heel, there’s a problem. Hoge was hurt late, a few freshmen will need to play a role, and someone has to produce. Move this way up if and when Mangum is back to form.
102. Toledo Rockets
Prespring Projected Starter: Mitchell Guadagni, Jr.
It’s going to be better a whole lot better than this ranking – eventually. Toledo always finds decent passing options, but losing Logan Woodside and backup Michael Julian is a problem. Guadagni was 1-for-6 with a pick in his brief time last year. There’s no developed depth behind him.
101. Northern Illinois Huskies
Prespring Projected Starter: Marcus Childers, Soph.
The hope is for Childers to make the NIU offense more explosive. Daniel Santacaterina is transferring, Ryan Graham is always hurt, and a slew of underclassmen will have to get time in spring ball.
100. Colorado State Rams
Prespring Projected Starter: Collin Hill, Jr.
The Rams will be fine if Hill is good after tearing his ACL a few years ago and not seeing any time last season. Will the Rams go the grad transfer route for depth? They need to do something with absolutely no experience behind Hill.
99. Cincinnati Bearcats
Prespring Projected Starter: Hayden Moore, Sr.
Moore threw 20 touchdown passes and nine picks, and junior Ross Trail has experience, but the offense didn’t do much. Dual-threat recruit Ben Bryant might add a spark.
98. WKU Hilltoppers
Prespring Projected Starter: Drew Eckels, Sr.
It’s throw early, throw often, throw always at WKU, but not having Mike White around anymore hurts. Eckels completed 8-of-11 passes, and now he has to become amazing. There’s almost no developed depth.
97. Air Force Falcons
Prespring Projected Starter: Arion Worthman, Sr.
Worthman has been around long enough to know how to run the offense, but he has to be better and more explosive. Isaiah Sanders is an experienced No. 2.
96. Troy Trojans
Prespring Projected Starter: Kaleb Barker, Jr.
Brandon Silvers was the ring leader for the offense and the team that rolled through the last few seasons. Baker is a speedy option who’ll add something different, but he needs time. There’s no developed depth behind him.
95. Oregon State Beavers
Prespring Projected Starter: Aidan Willard, Soph.
The situation could quickly be a whole lot better if 2017 early starter Jake Luton can return from a frightening injury and end to his season. Willard is more of a running option for the new coaching staff.
94. Nevada Wolf Pack
Prespring Projected Starter: Ty Gangi, Sr.
Gangi took over the job in a muddled mess, and he was okay. David Cornwell came in from Alabama, but left the program early on. That allowed Gangi to step up and others to get time pushing for the No. 2. The O has to be more efficient now.
93. ULM Warhawks
Prespring Projected Starter: Caleb Evans, Jr.
The team might not be all that great, but the quarterback situation might very, very quietly be the best in the Sun Belt – or close to it. There were times when Evans was unstoppable last season. Smith is good, too, when he’s healthy.
92. Tulane Green Wave
Prespring Projected Starter: Jonathan Banks, Sr.
Banks took to the offense as the season went on, and now the former Kansas State transfer should be great. Johnathan Brantley has a little bit of experience as the backup.
91. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Prespring Projected Starter: Luke Skipper, Soph.
The Golden Hurricane will have to wait a year for Baylor transfer Zach Smith to be eligible. The passing game was a total and complete dud last year, with Skipper throwing just three touchdown passes, Chad President adding three more, and Will Hefley throwing no scoring passes and two picks. They’re all back.
90. Memphis Tigers
Prespring Projected Starter: David Moore, Soph.
Assume the Tiger passing game will be a whole lot better than this, but with Riley Ferguson gone, it’s up to last year’s backup Moore to be amazing right away, or Arizona State transfer Brady White might have to be great.
89. Bowling Green Falcons
Prespring Projected Starter: Jarret Doege, Soph.
The offense started to pick up once Doege kicked it in late in the season. James Morgan is a veteran, and Grant Loy provides a third option with a little bit of time logged in.
88. USF Bulls
Prespring Projected Starter: Brett Kean, Jr.
You don’t just replace Quinton Flowers and move on. Kean has a wee bit of experience as the backup over the last few years, but Flowers was special. Chris Oladokun is the likely No. 2.
87. Eastern Michigan Eagles
Prespring Projected Starter: Tyler Wiegers, Sr.
The Eagles lost Brogan Roback, and they might have upgraded with Iowa transfer Tyler Wiegers coming in as a grad transfer. Isaac Steibeling got in some work as a freshman, and now he has to be groomed for the future. If Wiegers doesn’t win the job easily, there’s a problem.
86. Temple Owls
Prespring Projected Starter: Frank Nutile, Sr.
With Logan Marchi leaving for East Tennessee State, it’s Nutile’s job with no question. Now the backup situation has to be settled among a slew of underclassmen, with Todd Centeio the likely leader for the spot.
85. UAB Blazers
Prespring Projected Starter: A.J. Erdely, Sr.
One of the biggest keys to last season was the play of Erdely, who didn’t make a slew of mistakes with just four picks, and was a steadying force for the offense. He’s back along with all the backup options. However, the team needs to get more work in for the No. 2.
84. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Prespring Projected Starter: Vic Viramontes, Soph.
With Demry Croft leaving the program, the Gophers are starting from scratch, hoping JUCO transfer Viramontes can take over the gig right away.
83. Northwestern Wildcats
Prespring Projected Starter: TJ Green, Jr
The situation changes night-and-day – and move this ranking WAY up – if Clayton Thorson is back after tearing his ACL in the bowl win. Otherwise, it’s an open casting call for the opener.
82. Illinois Fighting Illini
Prespring Projected Starter: Cam Thomas, Soph.
This … is … a … mess. It could change quickly with a grad transfer, or if one of the dual-threat recruits rises up right away, but with Jeff George Jr. and Chayce Crouch leaving, there’s a big, big problem with the depth.
81. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Prespring Projected Starter: Kwadra Griggs, Sr.
The Golden Eagles used both Griggs and Keon Howard last year, with Griggs rising up over the second half of the season. Throw in the signing of Tate Whatley, and the Golden Eagles are loaded.
80. Western Michigan Broncos
Prespring Projected Starter: Jon Wassink, Jr.
Before suffering a broken collarbone, Wassink was decent, throwing 14 touchdown passes with four picks. Reece Goddard was thrown to the wolves, but he got in enough time to be counted on. Illinois transfer Alex Mussat is in the mix.
79. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Prespring Projected Starter: J’mar Smith, Jr.
It might not have been the high-powered passing game of 2016, but Smith threw for close to 3,000 yards. He can run, too. Backup Westin Elliott is also back after getting in a little bit of time.
78. Miami University RedHawks
Prespring Projected Starter: Gus Ragland, Jr.
It’s going to be a fight. Ragland emerged as a playmaker as a freshman, but was just okay last year. With Billy Bahl transferring to Ashland, it’s up to Michigan transfer Alex Malzone to push really, really hard for Ragland’s gig. He didn’t transfer to MU to sit on the bench.
77. Wyoming Cowboys
Prespring Projected Starter: Nick Smith, Sr.
No, he’s not Josh Allen, and he’s not Carson Wentz, but Smith is another very big Craig Bohl quarterback with a huge arm. Tyler Vander Waal, though, might be the more talented option as the season goes on.
76. Kentucky Wildcats
Prespring Projected Starter: Terry Wilson, Jr.
It’s a potentially rough situation with Drew Barker transferring. The hope is for Oregon transfer Wilson to be fantastic, or else.
75. Boston College Eagles
Prespring Projected Starter: Anthony Brown, Soph.
Brown needs to be back from the torn ACL that knocked him out late last year. If he’s not ready, there’s a problem with Darius Wade transferring to Delaware. Move this up if and when Brown is okay.
74. Fresno State Bulldogs
Prespring Projected Starter: Marcus McMaryion, Sr.
It’s a great situation with McMaryion rising up and taking over, highlighted with a great bowl game. However, losing competent backup Chason Virgil to SE Louisiana is a problem. The recruiting class is strong with a few high-end prospects to learn under Jeff Tedford, but a true freshman will likely have to play a backup role.
73. Florida Atlantic Owls
Prespring Projected Starter: Daniel Parr, Jr.
Probably the most interesting Group of Five quarterback situation, Jason Driskel retired a year early, and Parr should step up as last year’s No. 2. However, FSU transfer De’Andre Johnson and Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison will each be deep in the race for the starting job, too.
72. UNLV Rebels
Prespring Projected Starter: Armani Rogers, Soph.
Rogers is one of the Mountain West’s rising superstars, but the backup situation is a big, big concern. Cal and JUCO transfer Max Gilliam needs to be a factor, and then it’s up to the freshmen to be ready to produce in reserve roles.
71. UMass Minutemen
Prespring Projected Starter: Andrew Ford, Sr.
The receiving corps might not be as good, but the quarterback situation is fantastic with Ford back after hitting 22 touchdown passes and just four picks, and Ross Comis returning – he’s more than good enough to start, too.
70. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
Prespring Projected Starter: Brent Stockstill, Sr.
Stockstill is back for his 19th year with the program – at least it seems that way. If he’s healthy, the Blue Raider passing game will be among the best in Conference USA. Part-time starter John Urzua has retired from football after having concussion issues, meaning the backup situation is iffy.
69. Virginia Cavaliers
Prespring Projected Starter: Bryce Perkins, Jr.
There are a whole lot of eggs put in the Perkins basket. The JUCO transfer from Arizona State has to be ready right away with the depth – even with last year’s No. 2 man Lindell Stone back – a bit iffy.
68. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Prespring Projected Starter: Justice Hansen, Sr.
It only seems like Hansen has been around for 14 years after transferring in from Oklahoma. He’ll be one of the nation’s most productive passers, and Logan Bonner should be the established No. 2. ASU is set.
67. North Texas Mean Green
Prespring Projected Starter: Mason Fine, Jr.
Fine throws way too many interceptions, but he also threw for over 4,000 yards and should be among the nation’s top bombers. No. 2 man Quinn Shanbour is back, too, after getting in a little bit of work.
66. Indiana Hoosiers
Prespring Projected Starter: Peyton Ramsey, Soph.
Ramsey is fine if he can stay in one piece, but the hope is for recruit Michael Penix to be as good as advertised right away.
65. Iowa State Cyclones
Prespring Projected Starter: Kyle Kempt, Sr. …
Maybe. If Kempt really is the starter – he petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year – the situation becomes stronger. Zeb Noland has a little experience, and Re-Al Mitchell is an interesting recruit.
64. Buffalo Bulls
Prespring Projected Starter: Tyree Jackson, Jr.
Ready for the NFL scouts to start falling in love? Jackson has the size, the arm, and the upside to be a draft darling if he can stay in one piece. Backups Drew Anderson and Kyle Vantrease got in enough time to be counted on after both saw action in place of a dinged up Jackson.
63. Baylor Bears
Prespring Projected Starter: Charlie Brewer, Soph.
The transfer of Zach Smith to Tulsa means it’s Brewer or bust. There’s almost no one behind him, praying freshman Gerry Bohanon is ready in a hurry.
62. Tennessee Volunteers
Prespring Projected Starter: Jarrett Guarantano, Soph.
Okay, Guarantano, be great. Quinten Dormady transferred, but Wagner transfer Alex Thomson – don’t scoff; he has the skills to battle for the job.
61. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Prespring Projected Starter: Adrian Martinez, Fr.
The Scott Frost era might start with getting Martinez in right away, but there are plenty of other options to step in for Tanner Lee. Patrick O’Brien and Tristan Gebbia are in the hunt, but Martinez is the shot for the stars.
60. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Prespring Projected Starter: Giovanni Rescigno, Sr.
Very quietly, this could be a terrific situation if Johnathan Lewis is ready to live up to his prep hype. Rescigno is an experienced veteran, but he has to be better.
59. San Diego State Aztecs
Prespring Projected Starter: Christian Chapman, Sr.
No one will expect him to bomb away, but Chapman is a veteran who knows how to run the attack. He threw 13 touchdown passes and just four picks last year – he’ll have more of the offense on his shoulders. Junior Ryan Agnew is a veteran backup.
58. Kansas Jayhawks
Prespring Projected Starter: Carter Stanley, Jr.
It might be the team’s biggest plus, but the QBs need help from the rest of the team. Stanley and Peyton Bender are veterans who know what they’re doing.
57. Arkansas Razorbacks
Prespring Projected Starter: Cole Kelley, Soph.
The Hogs will wing it all around the yards, and the big Kelley will likely get the first look, with Ty Storey right there in the hunt for the job.
56. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Prespring Projected Starter: McLane Carter, Jr.
Carter got in a little bit of time late in the year against Texas, but it’ll be a fight for the starting gig with Jett Duffey and recruit Alan Bowman each getting every opportunity.
55. Washington State Cougars
Prespring Projected Starter: Trey Tinsley, Jr.
The graduation of Luke Falk and the tragic death of Tyler Hilinski means it’s a five-man race now for the starting job. Tinsley has been around the longest, but freshman Cammon Cooper might be too good to keep off the field.
54. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Prespring Projected Starter: Kendall Hinton, Jr.
Hinton should be more than fine taking over for John Wolford – he has the experience to go from Day One. Jamie Newman is an interesting big bomber with – likely – the No. 2 job.
53. Ohio Bobcats
Prespring Projected Starter: Nathan Rourke, Jr.
It’s a fantastic situation. Quinton Maxwell is a good enough option to start – he’s get the No. 1 gig at most MAC schools – but Rourke is coming off a phenomenal season with 21 touchdown runs and close to 1,000 yards on the ground, along with an efficient campaign throwing the ball.
52. Cal Golden Bears
Prespring Projected Starter: Ross Bowers, Jr.
There’s experience, but can anyone rise up and rock? Bowers started throughout last year, but he’ll have to hold off senior Chase Forrest.
51. SMU Mustangs
Prespring Projected Starter: Ben Hicks, Jr.
Forget the bowl disaster, Hicks is an outstanding passer who’ll put up massive numbers under new head coach Sonny Dykes. The backup situation is excellent with seniors D.J. Gillins and Rafe Peavey in the bullpen.
50. Duke Blue Devils
Prespring Projected Starter: Daniel Jones, Jr.
Can Jones be a wee bit better? When he was good, Duke was great. Backup Quentin Harris has seen a little time and he can run.
49. Houston Cougars
Prespring Projected Starter: D’Eriq King, Jr.
King is a good one who rose up as the season went on, but backup Kyle Postma is gone and Kyle Allen left for the NFL. The backup situation is a big, big problem, but King is the program for the next few years.
48. North Carolina Tar Heels
Prespring Projected Starter: Nathan Elliott, Jr.
This is a sneaky-good situation. The Tar Heels went with youth and inexperience last year, and now it should pay off with two good options in Elliott and Chazz Surratt, and a great recruit in Jace Ruder coming in.
47. Pitt Panthers
Prespring Projected Starter: Kenny Pickett, Soph.
Can Pickett build off what he started late last season? He’d better with Ben DiNucci transferring to James Madison. JUCO transfer Ricky Town is a one-time super-recruit who’ll push for the job right away, and star freshman Nick Patti might be the best of the bunch.
46. Vanderbilt Commodores
Prespring Projected Starter: Kyle Shurmur, Sr.
The Commodores have a longtime veteran in Shurmur who’ll have to throw and throw some more, but Deuce Wallace might be a big part of the equation.
45. Stanford Cardinal
Prespring Projected Starter: K.J. Costello, Jr.
Losing backup Keller Chryst to a graduate transfer isn’t that big a deal with Costello the almost-certain No. 1 and Davis Mills a great-looking backup option.
44. Boise State Broncos
Prespring Projected Starter: Brett Rypien, Sr.
Back for another year at the helm, Rypien needs to be sharper and more consistent. Montell Cozart is gone, and now the No. 2 job will be a big question mark with sophomore Chase Cord having the inside track. If he’s not great, the recruiting class will have to come through – there’s no depth.
43. LSU Tigers
Prespring Projected Starter: Myles Brennan, Soph.
Throw the options in a bag and pick one out, and you might just have the starter. Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan will get equal shots at the open job.
42. Louisville Cardinals
Prespring Projected Starter: Jawon Pass, Soph.
There’s no Lamar Jackson, but the Louisville quarterback will always be strong. Pass is good, but Malik Cunningham might just be the better option as the offseason goes on.
41. TCU Horned Frogs
Prespring Projected Starter: Shawn Robinson, Soph.
The experience isn’t there with Kenny Hill gone, but Robinson is a perfect fit for the Horned Frog attack. Grayson Muehlstein is a good-enough senior as the No. 2.
40. Colorado Buffaloes
Prespring Projected Starter: Steven Montez, Jr.
There’s talent in Montez, and experienced depth with backup Sam Noyer, but now the passing game and the offense have to be better. Watch out, though, for Montez to potentially grow into a star now that he knows what he’s doing.
39. UCLA Bruins
Prespring Projected Starter: Devon Modster, Soph.
Not having Josh Rosen around anymore makes this tough for Chip Kelly. Modster has the experience, but Washington transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels and new recruit Dorian Thompson-Robinson might be better fits.
38. Florida Gators
Prespring Projected Starter: Feleipe Franks, Soph.
Can the new coaching staff take the talent and make it all shine? Franks has the skills, but freshman Emory Jones could be the guy out of the gate.
37. Maryland Terrapins
Prespring Projected Starter: Kasim Hill, Soph.
There’s a big assumption here that the Terps will have healthy options. They might have five veterans to play around with, but it’s a deep group that could be a massive positive depending on everyone’s knees.
36. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Prespring Projected Starter: TaQuon Marshall, Sr.
Marshall will be one of the best runners in all of college football, but there’s a battle for the No. 2 job with Matthew Jordan retiring a year early.
35. Arizona State Sun Devils
Prespring Projected Starter: Manny Wilkins, Sr.
Herm Edwards can’t complain about his quarterbacks. It’s a strong situation with Wilkins a good veteran and Alabama transfer Blake Barnett has been around long enough to be ready as the No. 2.
34. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Prespring Projected Starter: Taylor Cornelius, Sr.
It’s Oklahoma State. It’s going to be fine. However, losing Mason Rudolph is a big problem. Cornelius has waited his turn, but Mike Gundy isn’t afraid to go young. Keondre Wudtee and Spencer Sanders are the more talented options, and Dru Brown is coming in as a transfer from Hawaii to give it a shot.
33. Utah Utes
Prespring Projected Starter: Tyler Huntley, Jr.
Can Huntley be more consistent? If he is, look out. New recruit Jack Tuttle is a terrific passer who might just win the No. 2 job right away.
32. Navy Midshipmen
Prespring Projected Starter: Zach Abey, Sr.
For what they do, look out. Abey will be among the nation’s leading scorers – 20 rushing touchdowns is a lock – as long as he’s actually the quarterback. Perry is a running back who lines up under center at times – ask Army – but get both options on the field, and kaboom.
31. Ole Miss Rebels
Prespring Projected Starter: Jordan Ta’amu, Sr.
This would be a top 15 quarterback situation if Shea Patterson didn’t transfer to Michigan, but Ta’amu will bomb away. Jason Pellerin – a possible tight end – and Matt Corral are interesting backup options.
30. Iowa Hawkeyes
Prespring Projected Starter: Nathan Stanley, Jr.
It would’ve been a better situation is backup Tyler Wiegers didn’t transfer to Eastern Michigan, but Stanley is a good one to work around.
29. Kansas State Wildcats
Prespring Projected Starter: Alex Delton, Jr.
Considering the Wildcats love to rotate the quarterbacks, having Delton and Skylar Thompson back helps what should be a solid offense. John Holcombe is a terrific recruit with big size and a big arm.
28. Purdue Boilermakers
Prespring Projected Starter: Elijah Sindelar, Jr.
Assuming David Blough is back to form from his ankle injury, the Boilermakers will have a terrific 1-2 quarterbacking punch again. Sindelar is more than good enough to be great as the full-time No. 1, as long as he cuts down on his mistakes.
27. UCF Knights
Prespring Projected Starter: McKenzie Milton, Jr.
On starter, UCF is top ten. On depth? …. Will Milton be as good without Scott Frost as the head coach and missing a few key parts to last year’s attack? Probably, but the backup situation is a concern with Noah Vedral transferring to Nebraska. Darriel Mack has to be ready to be the No. 2 now.
26. USC Trojans
Prespring Projected Starter: Matt Fink, Soph.
There’s plenty of talent – as always – but there’s no sure-thing No. 1 guy with Sam Darnold gone. Superstar recruit JT Daniels might get the job right away, but Jack Sears and Fink have been around long enough to know what they’re doing.
25. South Carolina Gamecocks
Prespring Projected Starter: Jake Bentley, Jr.
Don’t let the lack of big passing numbers fool you – Bentley is terrific. There’s a nice backup situation with a good mix of experience in the system and young talent.
24. NC State Wolfpack
Prespring Projected Starter: Ryan Finley, Sr.
Finley’s decision to return for one more year gives the Wolfpack hope to be a player in the ACC. Behind him, though, is a problem with Jalan McClendon choosing to transfer.
23. Syracuse Orange
Prespring Projected Starter: Eric Dungey, Sr.
As long as Dungey can stay on the field, the Orange offense will be dominant. There’s experience behind him, but redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito is the statistical superstar-in-waiting.
22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Prespring Projected Starter: Brandon Wimbush, Sr.
It’ll be an interesting offseason fight between Wimbush – a top runner who made the offense explode last year – and bowl hero Ian Book. Good recruit Phil Jurkovec will around this fall – he’s not enrolling early – but it’ll be a Book vs. Wimbush battle. There might not be a wrong answer.
21. Texas A&M Aggies
Prespring Projected Starter: Nick Starkel, Soph.
The A&M quarterback situation needs to be handled by Jimbo Fisher with kid gloves. Starkel might start, but Kellen Mond is too good to let him even think about possibly transferring.
20. West Virginia Mountaineers
Prespring Projected Starter: Will Grier, Sr.
As long as Grier is healthy, look out. The Mountaineer offense will be tremendous, but if he goes down again, also … look out. Chris Chugunov was a disaster in the bowl game, but JUCO transfer Davie Isreal and Miami transfer Jack Allison are the likely emergency options.
19. Wisconsin Badgers
Prespring Projected Starter: Alex Hornibrook, Jr.
This ranking goes up if Stanford’s Keller Chryst transfers in to play for Uncle Paul. He’s not pushing Hornibrook out of a job, though, if he does. The backup situation is solid no matter what.
18. Virginia Tech Hokies
Prespring Projected Starter: Josh Jackson, Soph.
It’s not just that Jackson is looking one of the ACC’s best young stars, there’s experience behind him, too. Former Kansas transfer Ryan Willis, Nebraska transfer AJ Bush, and Hendon Hooker will fight for the No. 2.
17. Miami Hurricanes
Prespring Projected Starter: N’Kosi Perry, RFr.
Do you like the steady veteran or the superstar-in-waiting? Last year’s starter Malik Rosier can play, but Perry is the one who might be the missing piece to take the Canes to another level.
16. Oregon Ducks
Prespring Projected Starter: Justin Herbert, Jr.
When healthy, Herbert is one of the nation’s best all-around quarterback talents, and Braxton Burmeister got in enough work last year to be ready if needed.
15. Oklahoma Sooners
Prespring Projected Starter: Kyler Murray, Jr.
Let’s just put Murray in the Heisman race right away – he’s going to run wild in the Sooner offense – but Austin Kendall isn’t a bad option with pro-style passing skills.
14. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Prespring Projected Starter: Nick Fitzgerald, Sr
This is assuming that Fitzgerald will be healthy and ready to go by the start of the season, but not fulling expecting he’ll be 100%. Keytaon Thompson proved last year he can move the offense.
13. Michigan Wolverines
Prespring Projected Starter: Brandon Peters, Soph.
It’s a strong situation with Peters a better-than-you-think starter, and Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson a terrific option to battle for the gig. Dylan McCaffrey is a great prospect, and even Wilton Speight might be back if the NCAA doesn’t declare Patterson eligible.
12. Michigan State Spartans
Prespring Projected Starter: Brian Lewerke, Jr.
This is all about Lewerke and his expected rise into a bigger star. The depth is a problem with Messiah deWeaver going the JUCO route.
11. Texas Longhorns
Prespring Projected Starter: Sam Ehlinger, Soph.
This is the true if-you-have-two-starting-quarterbacks-you-have-none thing, but Shane Buechele and Ehlinger are good enough combined to make the offense shine. One of them, though, has to take over.
10. Washington Huskies
Prespring Projected Starter: Jake Browning, Sr.
It would’ve been nice to have K.J. Carta-Samuels back – he transferred to UCLA – but Browning is poised and ready to be a bigger national star. Georgia’s Jacob Eason? That’s next year.
9. Florida State Seminoles
Prespring Projected Starter: Deondre Francois, Jr.
The off-the-field issues don’t appear to be a barrier for Francois, and he’s expected to be healthy and ready to go for the start of the season. Last year’s starter, James Blackman, has the experience to push for the job.
8. Ohio State Buckeyes
Prespring Projected Starter: Dwayne Haskins, Soph.
The Buckeyes have lots of talent, but who’s the real No. 1? Haskins will get the first look, but Tate Martell might be too good to keep on the bench.
7. Auburn Tigers
Prespring Projected Starter: Jarrett Stidham, Jr.
The backup situation is a wee bit of a concern – Malik Willis is more of a running option – but Stidham is a special prospect with the NFL upside to potentially be the first quarterback off the board next year.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions
Prespring Projected Starter: Trace McSorley, Sr.
The offense is set with McSorley a trusted veteran, and a slew of nice backup options with the upside and talent to be terrific – next year, after the main man is done.
5. Missouri Tigers
Prespring Projected Starter: Drew Lock, Sr.
Lock is one of the nation’s best returning bombers, and he’s got help behind him with former LSU Tiger Lindsey Scott Jr., to go along with a slew of other terrific passers in reserve.
4. Arizona Wildcats
Prespring Projected Starter: Khalil Tate, Jr.
Kevin Sumlin not only has the phenomenal Tate to work with, but Brandon Dawkins – if he doesn’t transfer – is a terrific backup.
3. Clemson Tigers
Prespring Projected Starter: Kelly Bryant, Jr.
Just how good is Bryant? He’d better be amazing with Trevor Lawrence, arguably, the nation’s top recruit coming in, and Hunter Johnson a fantastic recruit last year who’ll get every shot at the job.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Prespring Projected Starter: Jake Fromm, Soph.
Fromm is the best young quarterback in college football, looking Aaron Rodgers-like at times throughout the College Football Playoff. And he might lose his gig to superstar recruit Justin Fields.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Prespring Projected Starter: Tua Tagovailoa, Soph.
So, should Nick Saban go with a two-time national championship starter in Jalen Hurts, or the guy who brought home the title last season in Tagovailoa, or both? If that’s not enough, Mac Davis might be the team’s best pure passer.