Pac-12 Championship - Utah v USC
Getty Images

It's a season of change at the quarterback position in 2023, with several top programs across the country replacing their signal-callers. Three of the four Heisman finalists from last season are off to the NFL, along with 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young. Two-time reigning national champion Stetson Bennett IV also departs, leaving a fierce battle at Georgia. 

That exodus opens the door for depth to shine through, however. Heisman winner Caleb Williams takes his rightful place as the unquestioned leader of college football, but an incredibly talented 2023 quarterback class – featuring three of the top four overall recruits in the Top247 rankings – will make their presence known. A handful of key transfers could also change fortunes, especially in the SEC. 

To be clear, this ranking is about the entirety of a quarterback room, not a reflection of individual quarterback talent. North Carolina, UTSA and Washington did not make the list, but Drake Maye, Frank Harris and Michael Penix Jr. rank among the best signal-callers in the nation. Instead, this list informs which programs are best prepared to roll with setbacks during the 2023 season and which have the brightest options waiting in the wings. Let's get into the top quarterback rooms in college football, headlined by a familiar face. 

1. USC

Caleb Williams, Miller Moss, Malachi Nelson

For the second year in a row, the reigning Heisman winner leads his class to the top of the list. Williams put together a transcendent season as a sophomore, throwing for 4,537 yards, rushing for 382 yards and totaling 52 touchdowns while leading USC to the Pac-12 Championship Game. If everything falls right, Williams could become the first two-time Heisman winner since Archie Griffin. Behind Williams, Nelson rated as a consensus five-star and the No. 13 player in the Top247 rankings. Moss gives Lincoln Riley veteran insurance after two full years on campus. 

2. Texas

Quinn Ewers, Maalik Murphy, Arch Manning

Only four quarterbacks have earned No. 1 overall ratings in the Top247 since it launched in 2010. Two of them, Ewers and Manning, are in the Texas quarterback room in 2023. Ewers joins Vince Young as the only quarterback recruit with a perfect 1.0000 rating coming out of high school, and he flashed his big-time ability in impressive performances against Alabama and Oklahoma. Murphy is the wild card of the group. He's a big-armed passer who earned national transfer interest after a breakout spring game, but opted to stay put. Managing the personalities will be a difficult test for coach Steve Sarkisian, but the talent on the 40 Acres is unquestioned. 

3. Georgia

Carson Beck, Brock Vandagriff, Gunner Stockton

The Bulldogs are the highest-ranked room without experience, but the combination of talent and time on campus puts the program in a strong spot. Beck is the presumed starter after throwing 58 passes over the past two seasons. The Bulldogs are betting big on his pocket ability, nabbing multiple key wide receiver transfers to spread the field. If Beck falters, Vandagriff is a former five-star recruit with two years of waiting and developing. Stockton delivers yet another blue-chip quarterback depth piece. Early reviews of all three players are strong. 


Collin Schlee, Ethan Garbers, Dante Moore

The Bruins have one of the most intriguing quarterback rooms in the country. Schlee, a Kent State transfer, should seamlessly fit into Chip Kelly's power spread after throwing for 2,100 yards and rushing for 492 yards in 2022. However, all eyes will be on Moore, the No. 4 overall player from the 2023 class, who shocked Oregon by flipping to UCLA at the last minute. Don't be surprised if Moore earns the starting job at some point. Garbers is in his third year on campus learning under Kelly after transferring from Washington and gives the Bruins some much-needed depth as Moore and Schlee learn the ropes. Frankly, it's about time UCLA had a quarterback room worthy of Los Angeles. 

5. LSU

Jayden Daniels, Garrett Nussmeier

Daniels took a massive step forward in the latter half of his first season at LSU, scoring eight combined touchdowns in top-10 victories over Ole Miss and Alabama, the latter of which was the first in Baton Rouge in more than a decade. While the Tigers lost heralded recruit Walker Howard to the transfer portal, Nussmeier has flashed big-time ability over the past two seasons, including 173 yards and two touchdowns in a bowl win against Purdue. The cupboard is plenty full at LSU. 

Honorable Mention

  • Kansas State: Returner Will Howard led the Wildcats to a Big 12 championship with an impressive effort and now gets his shot atop the depth chart. Behind Howard, Avery Johnson ranks as the top quarterback recruit headed to Manhattan since Josh Freeman, and Jake Rubley was a blue-chip recruit, too. 
  • Ohio State: Uncertainty at the top keeps the Buckeyes out of the top five, but former five-star recruit Kyle McCord and four-star Devin Brown give Ryan Day a strong place to start. Oregon State transfer Tristan Gebbia provides a player-coach of sorts in the quarterback room. 
  • Ole Miss: The Rebels have major experience in the room with Spencer Sanders coming from Oklahoma State, along with young options in LSU transfer Walker Howard and incumbent starter Jaxson Dart. Sanders has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards in his career. 
  • Tennessee: Five-star Nico Iamaleava ranks as the top quarterback recruit in Knoxville since Peyton Manning and gives coach Josh Heupel a glimpse of the future. The present isn't bad, either: Joe Milton III threw for 10 touchdowns (to zero interceptions) last year, three of which came an Orange Bowl win over Clemson. 
  • Tulane: Talented quarterback Michael Pratt helped lead the Green Wave to an AAC title and Cotton Bowl victory in a breakout season. His backup, Kai Horton, is a two-time Texas high school football state champion who threw three touchdowns to shock Houston in overtime in 2022.