CBS Sports graphic

There is no position more important in the game of football than quarterback. It's the lone position player who touches the ball every snap, and a quarterback's decision-making often determines how successful his team will be. Beyond that, quarterbacks come in all different forms. There's the 6-foot-5 statue with a rocket arm, the scrambler, the modern dual-threat game-changer, and of course,  the plucky underdog.

In other words, while all quarterbacks are important, there is no perfect example of what a they are supposed to be. In fact, at the college level, it's more about schematic or systematic fit than overall ability. Incredible talent doesn't hurt, of course. If you can somehow find an incredibly talented plucky underdog, you'll conquer the world, not just your conference. Whichever type of quarterback you want running your team, what matters is you find the right one. Just flip around your television on a fall Saturday, and it becomes evident quickly.

As we have established for over a decade here at CBS Sports, college football season is not college football season without rankings. And given the quarterback is the most important position on the field, we wanted to establish a ranking for them over the course of the season. These rankings are based on a highly-scientific criteria, including how well they're playing, how well their teams are playing, their statistical profiles and those aforementioned vibes, baby.

In this preseason edition of the rankings, quarterbacks who have not yet played regularly were not included. So, apologies to all you Texas fans convinced that Quinn Ewers will save the program. He might, and if he does, he'll be ranked here at some point this season. Just not before Week 1.

Quarterback Power Rankings

Bryce Young Alabama Crimson Tide QB
There was temptation to get spicy from the jump by not putting the reigning Heisman Trophy winner here, but it would've been dishonest. Both Young and C.J. Stroud are incredible. If Bama's rushing attack is more dangerous in 2022 (as expected), it's only going to make Young that much more difficult to defend.
C.J. Stroud Ohio State Buckeyes QB
Stroud is my Heisman Trophy pick given he's leading potentially the best offense in the country, one surrounded by future NFL players. Unlike Young, he doesn't have to deal with all voters considering whether to honor a player in consecutive years. Add up Stroud's talent, playmakers and offensive system, and the Buckeyes will likely score 40 points per game.
Grayson McCall Coastal Carolina Chanticleers QB
McCall's passing efficiency was 207.65 last season, the highest mark by an FBS quarterback in history. (Stroud was in second at 186.56.) McCall is in complete command of one of the most entertaining offenses in the country, and he's thrown 54 touchdowns to only six interceptions in his career. He's also rushed for an additional 11 scores. He's the head rooster among the Chanticleers.
Caleb Williams USC Trojans QB
The same Oklahoma fans clamoring for Williams to replace Spencer Rattler last season now claim he's "not that good anyway" since he's transferred. Williams is an immense talent, though he certainly had his freshman moments. Still, he's a quarterback in Lincoln Riley's offense on a team with plenty of playmaking talent. He's also on a team that struggled defensively last season, so there's high shootout potential to inflate his statistics.
Hendon Hooker Tennessee Volunteers QB
You have to feel bad for Virginia Tech fans, who have seen some questionable quarterback play in recent years and had to watch Hooker transfer to Tennessee and light it up. Hooker threw for 2,945 yards and 31 touchdowns with only three interceptions, rushing for 613 yards and five more scores. He will likely post similar numbers again this season in Josh Heupel's offense, and it is Hooker who makes the Volunteers a sleeper in the SEC East.
Devin Leary NC State Wolfpack QB
Leary is in a dogfight with Hooker to be the best quarterback who casual fans don't yet know. Considering he could be starting in the NFL next year, it's time to start paying closer attention. Seriously, it's annoying when NC State calls a run simply because it takes the ball out of Leary's hands. Let the guy with the 7-1 TD/INT ratio have the ball every play!
Dillon Gabriel Oklahoma Sooners QB
Gabriel missed nearly the entire 2021 season, but his prior performances at UCF and potential in Jeff Lebby's offense make him deserving of placement. There aren't many things in life you'll see that are more beautiful than his deep ball down the left sideline. It's up there with a sunset over the Pacific Ocean and wherever Instagram models are paid to be this weekend.
Tyler Van Dyke Miami (FL) Hurricanes QB
Don't be surprised to see Van Dyke climb these rankings higher than you believe he has any right to be as the season goes, because I love him. He'll probably enter the 2023 season as the player draftniks project as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Van Dyke has the prototypical size and arm strength with enough mobility to survive an NFL pass rush. The only hope is Mario Cristobal doesn't put the same unexplainable leash on him that he did Justin Herbert at Oregon.
Cameron Rising Utah Utes QB
I love Rising's moxie. He's got plenty of talent, but Rising's vibes are immaculate. This is a guy who grabbed the starting job at Utah from Charlie Brewer and never even considered letting Brewer retake it. He went toe-to-toe with Stroud in the Rose Bowl before suffering an injury of his own, and he's a big reason why I consider the Utes favorites to repeat as Pac-12 champions this year.
Stetson Bennett Georgia Bulldogs QB
Bennett won a national title while finishing fourth in passing efficiency, completing 65% of his passes for 10 yards a pop and throwing 29 touchdowns. And people still treat the kid like he won a fan contest to be the Georgia quarterback for a day. No, he's not going to be an early NFL Draft pick. No, he's not a former five-star recruit. He's a former walk-on who has only improved since taking over as Georgia's QB despite everyone wanting to replace him.

Currently pinning these rankings in their lockers: Aidan O'Connell, Purdue; Brennan Armstrong, Virginia; Malik Cunningham, Louisville; Sam Hartman, Wake Forest; Spencer Rattler, South Carolina