With Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and other signal callers moving to the NFL, their schools will be turning to some unproven names in 2023.
The 2021 quarterback draft class was billed as multi-generational. You might find reasons to believe that any one of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, or Mac Jones would lead their pro teams to glory. But they had something else in common: with the exception of Lance, their successor was already raring to go when they left school. The top of the 2023 class finds itself in the opposite situation: there’s little clarity as to who will follow some of the draft’s best QB prospects.
There’s going to be a lot of debate as to whether Will Levis really is as good as his projected draft status, but it’s pretty clear that NC State’s Devin Leary will be the guy for the Cats going into next season. Leary had his own draft around him before he got injured in the 2022 season. At BYU, Jaren Hall is moving to the NFL and will likely be replaced by Kedon Slovis, who is in his third school after initially starting his career at USC. But Levi’s and Hall’s backups are about the only ones firmly entrenched at the top of the board after the QBs’ departures.
Here’s a look at how some of college football’s other top quarterbacks might be replaced after they climb to the pro ranks.
With Bryce Young gone, Jalen Milroe (who was starting against Texas A&M when Young was out with an injury) may have pole position in the QB room, but redshirt newcomer Ty Simpson will also be trying his crack at QB1 before the next season begins.
State of Ohio
Kyle McCord may have the inside track to the starting job as a gamer, having been in the program for several years and having a deep relationship with Marvin Harrison Jr., having played with him in high school. But last season’s third season QB Devin Brown will also feature in the race.
There may not be a more obscure quarterback situation in the country than what Anthony Richardson is leaving in Florida. As the Jaden Rashada saga continues behind the scenes, the Gators put Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz and bowl game starter Jack Miller on the depth chart. That’s a relatively empty closet unless Florida plans to meet someone in the spring transfer portal cycle.
With Tanner McKee’s exit from the NFL draft, sophomore Ashton Daniels and junior Ari Patu were set to face off against each other by spring. But the reclassification of four-star signee Myles Jackson to the class of 2023 makes things even more interesting for new head coach Troy Taylor.
In Tennessee, it’s likely Joe Milton will get another jump on the job he ceded to Hendon Hooker after Hooker declared himself on the draft. Milton showed in the Orange Bowl win over Clemson Blitze that he was a more well-rounded QB than the raw-arm-dependant QB who came on the bench in 2021. But hot on his heels is Nico Iamaleava, a newbie with a massive NIL deal and expectations of one day being the guy.