My top college QBs through September
The guys I expected to be great have been great, but there are some new guys on my radar.
I think it is too early to rank these guys in any order at this point. If you've been following me for a while, you know I am big on Hendon Hooker. He decided to forgo his early draft eligibility and come back for another year of college football (so did Grayson McCall at Coastal Carolina). Will Rogers was also a favorite of mine last year, although he was too young to be considered among draft prospects (the same can be said about CJ Stroud and Bryce Young).
I expected these guys to be good, and they have sure have been. But I am also excited about some new names - let's talk about them first.
When I heard there was a QB from the midwest wearing #15 in purple, I was already a fan. When I started looking at the numbers, I had to put him on this list. Max Duggan has TCU sitting at 4-0 while leading the nation in ESPN Passer Rating (202.2 - the only player above 200). He has completed 74.5% of his passes, thrown 11 touchdowns to ZERO interceptions. The Horned Frogs offense is averaging 45 points per game, ranking 5th in FBS.
They just started a 4 game gauntlet with a win over #18 Oklahoma. Next up:
#7 Oklahoma State
#20 Kansas State
I am excited to see if Duggan can keep up his significant stateliness as the competition ramps up.
As the season goes on, my brain is trained to think about the NFL Draft and the prospecting of who is coming next on the sports cards front. That means this will probably be my only 2022 monthly QB article where I talk about FRESHMAN Drake Maye. He is LEADING THE NCAA with 19 Touchdown Passes while throwing just one interception. He's 4th in QBR (90.6) and ESPN Passer Rating (187.6). He has completed 69.7% of his passes for 1,594 yards (6th). He has the North Carolina Tarheels at 4-1 (only loss was to Notre Dame where Maye threw 5 TDs). The ACC is still wide open and anything can happen this year. What an impression for a freshman.
It's always hard to watch a Hoosier QB leave Bloomington and find success elsewhere, but it seems to happen a lot. Michael Penix Jr is leading the country in passing yards (1,733) and has tossed 16 Touchdown Passes. He knocked down former Big Ten rival #11 Michigan State a couple weeks ago before taking a hard loss to PAC 12 foe UCLA last week. He has led Washington to 4-1 and they still have a chance to be relevant come Bowl Season.
Will Rogers led the NCAA in completions last year while completing 73.9% of his passes. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. Here in 2022, he is leading the NCAA in completions while completing 73.1% of his passes. He also leads the country in Touchdown Passes with 19 (tied with Drake Mate). Mike Leach's offense requires a special talent like this, but what we are seeing out of Rogers may put him at the top of the list as far as QBs Leach has produced (Gardnew Minshew, Luke Falk, Graham Harrell, Kliff Kingsbury, and more). This is his 3rd year as a starter after taking the reins as a true freshman. His experience and leadership plays a role in the flow of his offense averaging 38.2 points per game. They took a tough loss vs LSU in Week 3 but notched a huge win against #17 Texas A&M this past weekend. There is no easy SEC schedule, and the majority of the Bulldogs' schedule is made up of ranked teams. I look forward to watching Rogers battle through each challenge.
Ohio State is steamrolling through another season, but they have had no substantial tests yet. CJ Stroud looks great, sitting #2 in ESPN Passer Rating (196.3) and #3 with Touchdown Passes (18). I love that he has only been sacked three times. He looks as good as expected. I wish it wasn't such a down year for the B1G 10 so we could see a stronger impact of his capabilities.
Grayson McCall is now 25-2 as a starting QB at Coastal Carolina. He has completed 69.7% of his passes that include 14 Touchdowns to just 1 INT. McCall sits #3 in ESPN Passer Rating (188.2). He has ran for 3 scores as well. I expect CCU to go 12-0 and get a significant Bowl bid where we can see what McCall can do against higher competition. The Chanticleers have not played a ranked team since 2020.
My guy Hendon Hooker is FINALLY starting to get the respect I believe he has earned. I have seen him on some legit Heisman Watch lists. He is currently 6th in the country in ESPN Passer Rating (183.7) while completing an impressive 71.7% of his passes. As someone who has watched most of his games, I can also add that there have been several drops. He is looking great as a passer and a runner. He has ran in 3 TDs and averages 5 yards per carry. All of these stat lines have come with a significant schedule, as 2 of the Volunteers' games have been against ranked teams (Pittsburgh and Florida). Hooker has taken a few too many sacks for my liking, but other than that, his performance has him at my top QB slot.
Tennessee is about to continue that egregious SEC gauntlet with the following weeks: @ #25 LSU
vs #1 Bama
vs UT Martin
vs #13 Kentucky
@ #2 Georgia
My wife and I plan to be there for the Missouri game, so I have already bought my Hendo Cinco shirt!