Quarterback is, undoubtedly, the most important position in football. Perhaps in all organized team sports. Among the teams in Football Bowl Subdivision, the most elite ones have elite quarterbacks.
Think about it. When is the last time a team short on truly big-time quarterback play had a legitimate shot at a national championship?
That’s the case again this year. The best quarterbacks play on the best teams. Or, rather, it’s more accurate to say the teams have the best quarterbacks.
Among those is Arkansas and signal-caller KJ Jefferson, whose sophomore season broke him out, but his junior season, so far, has made him a true star.
So much so, in fact, Jefferson is considered one of the five best quarterbacks in the country. Let’s take a look at who is ahead of and behind him in the Top 10 per Paul Myerberg at USA TODAY Sports.
JJ McCarthy, Michigan
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy celebrates on the sidelines during the second half of the 56-10 win over Hawaii on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Ann Arbor.
Michigan’s offense has found a groove with McCarthy at the helm.
Frank Harris, Texas-San Antonio
Sep 10, 2022; West Point, New York, USA; UTSA Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris (0) is dragged down on a run against the Army Black Knights during the second half at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Former Arkansas assistant Jeff Traylor has one of the nation’s best quarterbacks at UTSA. A far cry from what he had at Arkansas.
Jaren Hall, Brigham Young
Sep 3, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) looks to pass against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
The Razorbacks get BYU in Provo in October and with Hall at the helm, the game won’t be easy for Arkansas.
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
Wake Forest Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman (10) gets ready to celebrate during the fourth quarter Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced each other in the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Wake Forest defeated Rutgers 38-10. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Wake Forest football runs through the magic Hartman provides from behind center. And, buddy, it’s magical.
Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) is pursued by Mississippi defensive linemen Tavius Robinson (95) and Sam Williams (7) in the NCAA college football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss in Knoxville, Tenn. on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
Hooker is the sixth best quarterback in the country…and, apparently, the fourth best in his own conference.
KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) runs a play against Cincinnati during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
You have known how good he’s been for 15 games. The nation is still discovering. Fast.
Stetson Bennett, Georgia
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Game manager? We don’t need no stinkin’ game managers. Bennett hasn’t had that label in years.
Caleb Williams, USC
Sep 3, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) celebrates after the game against the Rice Owls at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
There’s a reason Williams took the job from Spencer Rattler when they were both at Oklahoma. He’s showing it again now.
C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
September 10, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) hands off the ball to Ohio State Buckeyes running back Miyan Williams (3) during the second half of Saturday’s game against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Ohio Stadium.Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch
Everyone is waiting on a massive game from Stroud this year. It’s coming. Only a matter of when.
Bryce Young, Alabama
Sep 10, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns during the first half at at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Until things proverbially hit the fan, it’s hard to put anyone but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at the top.