Quarterback is likely the most important position in any sport. In nearly every season, each team that participates in the College Football Playoff is led by outstanding quarterback play.
With the 2022 College Football season a little over a month away, here is a look at some of the best quarterbacks in college football.
No.5: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
Spencer Rattler seemed set to be the next great quarterback at Oklahoma. Rattler was OU’s starting quarterback in 2020. In his first year as the starter Rattler had a 67.5% completion percentage, threw for 3,031 yards, and had a 28-7 touchdown to interception ratio.
In 2020, Oklahoma finished 9-2 and won the Big 12 Championship and the Cotton Bowl. Before 2021, Rattler was considered among the best quarterbacks in college football, and Oklahoma was a favorite to win the National Championship.
Things didn’t go the way Rattler or OU expected. Rattler spent most of the early part of the season as the starter but had some struggles. Caleb Williams, the No.7 overall recruit in the previous recruiting class, was Rattler’s backup, and after Rattler and OU went down 28-7 against Texas, Williams was brought in to try to lead a comeback.
After the quarterback change, Rattler remained the backup for the rest of the season. After the year ended he entered the transfer portal and is now at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are entering a huge season under Shane Beamer, who finished his first season with a 7-6 record after taking over a team that went 2-8 in 2020. Rattler will hope to lead South Carolina into a new era for its football program.
No.4: Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
The ACC has become possibly the best quarterback conference in the entire country. Sam Hartman leads a group of extremely talented quarterbacks which also includes Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke, NC State’s Devin Leary, and Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong.
Hartman was incredible for Wake Forest in 2021. He passed for 4,228 yards and threw for 39 touchdowns, second-most in the ACC behind first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett.
Wake Forest had one of the best seasons in program history with Hartman under center. The Demon Deacons went 11-3 (7-1 ACC) and won the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Wake Forest lost the ACC Championship 45-21 to Pittsburgh, but won the Gator Bowl.
After finishing last season on the All-ACC Second-Team, Hartman will be the favorite to be the first-team All-ACC quarterback this season and one of the favorites to win ACC Offensive Player of the Year. As a team, Wake Forest will be among the favorites to win the Atlantic Division alongside Clemson and will hope to win their first ACC Championship since 2006.
No.3: Caleb Williams, USC
Caleb Williams was the most high-profile transfer to take place this offseason, as he followed Lincoln Riley to USC. Williams quickly emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in college football after taking over the starting job at Oklahoma.
Williams’ first big moment on the national stage came on his first play against Texas. With OU down 28-7, Williams opened the second quarter as the quarterback and scored on a 66-yard touchdown run to kick off the largest comeback in the rivalry’s history. Williams finished the game 16 for 25 with 212 yards and two touchdowns.
During the rest of the season, Wiliams was Oklahoma’s starter. The Sooners finished the season 11-2, but two losses in three games against Baylor and in-state rival Oklahoma State prevented OU from winning the Big 12, although the team did finish with a win in the Alamo Bowl after Riley had departed for USC.
It was unclear whether Williams would transfer out of Oklahoma, but he eventually followed Riley to Los Angeles. USC was 4-8 in 2021 and won just three games in the Pac-12, although expectations are high for the program in 2022.
Williams and Riley will be one of the most interesting stories to watch in college football in 2022 as they look to return USC to national prominence and national championship contention.
No.2: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
In many ways, 2021 was disappointing for Ohio State. An early-season loss to Oregon gave the Buckeyes no margin for error. Eventually, Ohio State missed the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2018 and lost to Michigan for the first time in eight years.
One place where the season was not disappointing, however, was at quarterback. C.J. Stroud finished fourth in Heisman voting in his first season as the starting quarterback. He finished the season with 4,435 yards, a 71.9% completion percentage, and 44 touchdowns with just six interceptions.
Stroud steadily improved as the season went on, and he finished the Rose Bowl Game with a school-record 523 passing yards while tying his own record, set against Michigan State, for single-game touchdowns with six. Ohio State, which already had the best offense in the country in 2021, should again be one of the best offensive teams in the country in 2022.
Even before this season, Stroud is projected to be a Top 10 pick in next year’s NFL Draft. He and Ohio State are favored to return to the College Football Playoff, and he is the main competitor to Bryce Young for the Heisman Trophy.
No.1: Bryce Young, Alabama
Last season’s Heisman winner, Bryce Young is the best player and the best quarterback in college football. Young and Alabama will be favored to win the national title, and Young will try to become only the second player to ever be a two-time Heisman winner.
Young was incredible for Alabama in his first season as the starter. In his first start against Miami, Young completed 27 of his 38 passes, threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns, and started his path to the Heisman Trophy.
He finished the season second in the country in total yards with 4,872 and second in touchdowns with 47. Alabama finished the season 13-2, and won the SEC, but lost the National Championship to conference-rival Georgia.
In 2022, Young will be the Heisman Trophy favorite to start the season, and Alabama will be favored to win the National Championship. Another great season could secure Young’s legacy as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football.