The Pac-12 has three of the top 10 QBs in the 2024 NFL draft, led by Caleb Williams
We know the 2023 Pac-12 Conference is loaded with high-end talent and high-end teams in college football. One dimension of the Pac-12’s profile which magnifies how tough this league is going to be: quarterback play. The Pac-12 arguably has the best crop of quarterbacks in the country, better than any other Power Five conference, including the SEC.
Bryce Young left Alabama. Hendon Hooker left Tennessee. Anthony Richardson left Florida. They’re gone. In terms of returning talent at the quarterback position, the Pac-12 has retained more elite signal-callers than the rest.
C.J. Stroud left Ohio State in the Big Ten. Clemson no longer has an elite quarterback in the ACC after the Deshaun Watson-Trevor Lawrence glory years ended. Max Duggan is now in the NFL after having a huge 2022 season with TCU in the Big 12.
The Pac-12 really is the conference for quarterback play in 2022.
From Pro Football Focus, here are the top 10 quarterbacks to keep an eye on for the 2024 NFL draft. The Pac-12 has three, more than any other conference:
SAM HARTMAN, NOTRE DAME
Dec 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (10) waits for a play call against the Missouri Tigers during the second quarter in the 2022 Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Caleb Williams gets to face Sam Hartman when USC visits Notre Dame on Oct. 14.
JAYDEN DANIELS, LSU
Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) holds LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) in the air in celebration after sacking Daniels during the first half of the SEC Championship NCAA college football game between LSU and Georgia in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022.
Imagine if Daniels had thrived at Arizona State. He might still be in the Pac-12 this year.
J.J. McCARTHY, MICHIGAN
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) walks off the field after the Wolverines lost 51-45 to TCU at the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.
Syndication Detroit Free Press
McCarthy will try to lead Michigan to a third straight College Football Playoff appearance.
JOE MILTON, TENNESSEE
There's an alternate timeline somewhere in the multiverse where J.J. McCarthy and Joe Milton battled for Michigan's QB1 job.
Now, the two are at separate schools and could be battling for NFL Draft positioning.
Should be interesting to watch this fall. https://t.co/mbfhqLH4zz
— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) May 8, 2023
Milton transferred from Michigan to Tennessee. Imagine if the two schools meet in the playoff or a New Year’s Six bowl game!
JORDAN TRAVIS, FLORIDA STATE
Jordan Travis had a higher passing grade than Caleb Williams this past season, per PFF. pic.twitter.com/jDwIO06P02
— Nick Penticoff (@NickPenticoff) May 8, 2023
Jordan Travis, by returning for the 2023 season, makes Florida State the ACC favorite for a lot of football pundits, not Clemson. FSU-Clemson will be a huge game again this year.
DRAKE MAYE, NORTH CAROLINA
Nov 12, 2022; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks for an open receiver past the Wake Forest defense during the second half at Truist Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Maye will make a run at the Heisman. We’ll see if he can rise to the top of the board instead of losing steam late in the season, as was the case in 2022.
QUINN EWERS, TEXAS
Sat., Nov. 20, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Quinn Ewers (3) practices on the sideline during a break in play in the second quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua A. Bickel/Columbus Dispatch via USA TODAY Network.
Cfb Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes
The well-traveled Ewers, previously at Ohio State, has a year under his belt at Texas and will try to rise to the top tier of college football quarterbacks in 2023.
BO NIX, OREGON
Nov 19, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) talks to a reporter after a game against the Utah Utes at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks won the game 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
The duels involving Bo Nix, Michael Penix, and Caleb Williams will be must-see TV this fall.
MICHAEL PENIX, WASHINGTON
Nov 12, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Before USC plays both Washington and Oregon, Washington faces Oregon in mid-October. That’s the first really, really big Pac-12 game of the year.
CALEB WILLIAMS, USC
Jan 2, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) reacts after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Tulane Green Wave in the 2023 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
USC 45, Washington 42. Would anyone be surprised if that is the score of the Trojan-Husky game in early November at the Coliseum (or in a Pac-12 Championship Game rematch in December)?