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Top 10 PAC-12 Quarterbacks For 2023

The 2023 college football season is right around the corner, and it got me thinking about the most important position in the sport, quarterback. In looking over the quarterback situations throughout the Power Five conferences, it is very clear which conference has the best group of quarterbacks: the Pac-12 Conference.

Amazingly, 10 of the 12 starters have transferred to the schools they are now playing at. A sign of the times, I guess. There are 10 legitimate stars who are projected to start for Pac-12 teams this season. Below are my picks for the top 10 quarterbacks in the Pac-12 Conference for 2023.

#10: ARIZONA STATE: Drew Pyne; Redshirt Sophomore

Pyne’s first three seasons were at Notre Dame where he completed 63.1% of his passes for 2,257 yards, 24 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He has shown flashes of brilliance but also has had some head-scratching moments.

New OC Beau Baldwin runs a wide-open offense that should benefit Pyne. New head coach Kenny Dillingham is an ASU alum and was the offensive coordinator at Oregon in 2022 and at Florida State in 2020 and 2021. Pyne will be coached by some of the best offensive minds in the country.

#9: UCLA: Dante Moore; True Freshman

The five-star recruit started all four years in high school, throwing for 9,880 yards, 135 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. Has the size, football IQ and arm strength to start as a true freshman for head coach Chip Kelly.

Originally committed to Oregon, the Detroit native flipped his commitment to UCLA partially because of the Bruins’ move to the Big Ten in 2024. Should be a big year statistically for Moore, one that will end with him winning the PAC-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year award.

#8: WASHINGTON STATE: Cameron Ward; Junior

In 2020 and 2021 Ward was at the University of Incarnate Word and set career program records for passing yards, 6,908, and passing touchdowns, 71. He transferred to Wazzu for the 2022 season and completed 64.4% of his passes for 3,231 yards, 23 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Ward’s numbers should be similar in 2023 with new offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle, an Air Raid specialist.

#7: ARIZONA: Jayden de Laura; Junior

De Laura spent 2020 and 2021 at Washington State, completing 62.5% of his passes for 3,684 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. In de Laura’s first season in Arizona, he put up almost identical numbers as his two years combined in Pullman, WA, 3,685 yards on 62.5% completions with 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Four of the top five receivers return, so look for another big year statistically for de Laura.

#6: COLORADO: Shedeur Sanders; Junior

The son of head coach Deion Sanders, Shedeur followed his father to Colorado from Jackson State. Sanders completed 68.4% of his passes for 6,963 yards, 70 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions at JSU. While the defenses Colorado faces will be a step up in competition compared to the SWAC defenses, Sanders has the talent and ability to be successful.

However, I think Sanders will struggle early with the quality of defenses during the brutal start to Colorado’s schedule. In the first five games, the Buffs play at TCU, Nebraska, Colorado State, Oregon, and USC. But by the end of the season, Shedeur’s talent and ability will take over and he will show signs of progress.

#5: OREGON STATE: DJ Uiagalelei; Junior

DJU started his career at Clemson as a five-star recruit and the number one pro-style quarterback in the country. His first year at Clemson was the Covid year of 2020 and he played in nine games. DJU started two games as Trevor Lawrence was out with Covid and threw for 781 yards and four touchdowns.

However, in 2021 and 2022 he did not produce the gaudy offensive numbers Clemson fans had been used to. At the end of the 2021 season, offensive coordinator Tony Elliott left to be the head coach at Virginia. Brandon Streeter was promoted to the OC position but he and DJU did not mesh well.

Uiagalelei was eventually benched in favor of true freshman Cade Klubnik and transferred to Oregon State at the end of the 2022 season. He brings to the Beavers’ offense a top quarterback who should excel in former Beavers’ quarterback, and current head coach, Jonathan Smith’s pro-style offense.

#4: UTAH: Cameron Rising; Redshirt Senior

Rising spent the 2018 season as a member of the Texas Longhorns but never saw the field. He then transferred to Utah and sat out the 2019 season. In 2020 he played only one game, against USC, where he was injured and missed the remainder of the season. Rising has completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 5,572 yards, 46 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions from 2020-2022.

The shifty quarterback has also rushed for 953 yards and 12 touchdowns during that time. He has started for the Utes in back-to-back Rose Bowls, losing to Ohio State in 2021 and Penn State in 2022.

#3: OREGON: Bo Nix; 5th Year Senior

Nix started his college career at Auburn, debuting against his current team, the Oregon Ducks. He threw for 7,251 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions while completing 59.4% of his passes at Auburn. Last year, his first at Oregon, Nix completed an amazing 71.9% of his passes for 3,593 yards, 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

Many NFL Draft scouts have Nix being one of the top three quarterbacks taken in the upcoming NFL Draft. Last year’s OC Kenny Dillingham left to coach at Arizona State, but new OC Will Stein was hired from UTSA where he oversaw a very potent offense. Nix’s stats will not suffer with the OC change.

#2: WASHINGTON: Michael Penix, Jr.; Redshirt Senior

Penix was the second-leading passer in the nation in 2022 with 4,641 yards. He spent his first four seasons at Indiana, including his redshirt freshman season of 2019. The offensive coordinator at Indiana for the 2019 season was current Washington head coach Kalen Deboer.

In his four seasons with the Hoosiers Penix passed for 4,197 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. In his only season with Washington, 2022, Penix completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

With stud receivers, Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan both back, expect similar offensive numbers for Penix. He will be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony at the end of the 2023 season.

#1: USC: Caleb Williams; Junior

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Williams put up video game numbers in 2022. He hit 66.6 percent of his passes for 4,537 yards, 42 touchdowns, and only five interceptions! His freshman season of 2021 was spent at Oklahoma where he took over the starting reigns from Spencer Rattler in the Red River Rivalry game.

He passed for 1,912 yards, 21 touchdowns, and four interceptions in his only season in Norman, OK. Down the stretch of his freshman season, Williams saw a dip in his production, hitting the “freshman wall.”

Obviously winning the Heisman Trophy in 2022 shows he did not follow that up with a sophomore slump. Williams followed coach Lincoln Riley to USC and the rest is history! More than likely will be the top quarterback selected in the upcoming NFL Draft.

With so many good quarterbacks in the conference, I know that I will be losing a lot of sleep this upcoming season as I stay awake to catch the late games out on the Left Coast. With this being the last hurrah for this version of the Pac 12, or the Pac 12 altogether, buckle up for an exciting ride led by the best collective quarterback talent in the country.

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1 commentaire

Lol. Uiagalelei isn’t even the best QB at Oregon State🤣

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