The quarterback rankings continued to shake up some in what is one of the most unsteady seasons and unsteady classes at the position we’ve seen in a little while. Oh, and it all happened in a week that featured legendary comebacks and near-upsets that hardly anyone saw coming.
As we move through this college football season, and release these rankings weekly, a quick note: Players enter the season with a preseason ranking that they have earned over the course of their college career up to this point. Players have good weeks and bad weeks. Some pick themselves up while others enter a downward spiral. Some start near the top, have one bad game, and consistently get worse and fall off the radar for good reason. But do not expect to see a player drop 15 spots in the rankings because of one or two bad performances. Players will be moved down at a proper rate—there will be no jumping the gun and bouncing around here. Quarterbacks are evaluated on criteria that include accuracy, ball placement, level of mental processing, and natural/raw athletic ability.
Here’s a look at who makes the Top 25 rankings at the quarterback position in the 2022 NFL Draft after Week 11:
1. CARSON STRONG, NEVADA
Last Week: No. 2
Strong had his toughest game of the season last week, bouncing back this week as he completed 34-of-48 passes for 350 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Strong’s plant leg didn’t seem to be 100%, and it’s important to note the way he got rocked last week with the type of hits he took—something that continued to an extent against an incredibly tough San Diego State defense that brought pressure all night long, recording three sacks on Strong. The Wolf Pack didn’t get the outcome they wanted, falling 23-21 to the No. 22-ranked Aztecs, but Strong still delivered several NFL-level throws in a situation in which it’s easy to get the impression he wasn’t at full capacity. So far this season, Strong has completed more than 70% of his passes for 3,547 yards with 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions on 458 attempts.
And here’s your weekly dime down the sideline alert—hasn’t missed a beat:
2. KENNY PICKETT, PITTSBURGH
Last Week: No. 1
Pickett continues to rise and is just a hair behind Strong this week—and it’s safe to say any NFL team would be happy to have either player on its roster. The quarterback who looks like the Joe Burrow of 2021 in terms of style of play, meteoric rise, and mentality completed 25-of-43 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the 30-23 overtime win over UNC.
So far this year, Pickett has completed 67.5% of his passes for 3,517 yards with 32 touchdowns and four interceptions on 385 passing attempts, also using a certain level of mobility to take it to the house himself four times this year. It’s throws like these that make Pickett one of the most NFL-ready quarterbacks in this year’s class:
3. MATT CORRAL, OLE MISS
Last Week: No. 3
Corral has had his fair share of struggles with injury and playing through it lately, and while his mobility still seems limited, he’s done a good job of fighting through and doing what is needed to put his team in the best possible position to win. He and the Rebels took down a formidable Texas A&M team that hadn’t lost a game since Oct. 2 against Mississippi State this past weekend, sending the Aggies packing to College Station with a 29-19 loss. Corral completed 24-of-37 passes in that game for 247 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. In 2021, he boasts a 66.7% completion percentage with 2,774 yards, 17 touchdowns, two interceptions and has used his legs to buy his team 10 touchdowns on the ground this season.
And bad field position doesn’t stop him from guiding his team to scoring drives, either:
4. SAM HOWELL, NORTH CAROLINA
Last Week: No. 4
This week’s overtime loss against Pitt was disappointing for Howell and Co., but the signal-caller seems to be doing as much as he can with a mostly horrid supporting cast. Howell completed 22-of-33 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss and was more limited on the ground than we’ve seen him lately with 17 carries for 28 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Despite an offensive line that could be better and receivers who have had issues with drops, Howell has completed 63.5% of his passes for 2,704 yards with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions this year, also getting to the end zone with his legs nine times in 2021.
This is a good catch here by the wideout, but the timing and placement is something to be appreciated:
5. MALIK WILLIS, LIBERTY
Last Week: No. 6
Willis was on a bye week this week following a 27-14 loss to Ole Miss. It was a game in which he showed some red flags and put up one of his worst performances of the season in terms of total passing yardage, completing 16-of-25 passes for 173 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions and carrying the ball 27 times for 71 yards with one touchdown on the ground. It’s true that Willis may be the best quarterback of this class in terms of raw ability and things that just can’t be taught, but he needs to clean up the turnovers and improve as a pure passer.
6. DESMOND RIDDER, CINCINNATI
Last Week: No. 7
After a stretch in which he seemed to be less explosive than desired, Ridder seems to be finding his groove again. Sure, this past weekend’s matchup was against a lesser opponent in the USF Bulls, but Ridder looked strong, completing just under 31-of-39 passes (just under 80%) for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, also carrying the ball 13 times for 65 yards with one touchdown. That’s his second-highest completion percentage of the season and brings him to a season total of just under 66% pass attempts completed for 2,425 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions—he also has five rushing touchdowns.
Ridder edged his way into the record books on Saturday, throwing the most touchdown passes in Bearcats history:
7. BAILEY ZAPPE, WESTERN KENTUCKY
Last Week: No. 9
Zappe is one of those quarterbacks who was flying under the radar for the better part of the season and has steadily gained recognition, being praised by his head coach for his ability to not only excel in the traditional Air Raid offense but in a version of the offense that requires quarterbacks to have an extensive understanding of protection and has a little bit more emphasis on the run game aspect.
Zappe completed 34-of-42 passes for 482 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception in a 42-21 win over Rice on Saturday, leading this FBS with 4,195 passing yards this season. His 42 touchdowns on the season are also leading the nation.
8. SAM HARTMAN, WAKE FOREST
Last Week: No. 8
Hartman is another quarterback who has quickly risen and become a somewhat popular name in the race for the Heisman Trophy. His completion percentage in the 45-42 win over No. 16-ranked NC State left something to be desired, but it’s important to note he did attempt 47 passes. Hartman was 20-of-47 passing for 290 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions—the most he’s thrown in a single game all season—to go with 13 rushing attempts for 43 yards with one rushing touchdown.
This season, he’s completed 208-of-348 passes for 3,163 yards with 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions—he also has nine rushing touchdowns. There are some improvements to be made, but there’s no denying Hartman checks a lot of boxes as both a runner and a passer and has scratched and clawed his way to national recognition.
9. Jake Haener, Fresno State
Last Week: No. 17
Haener is a quarterback who brings a lot to the table both in terms of tangibles and intangibles. He’s been lighting it up through the air lately, completing 24-of-31 passes for 300 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the 34-7 win over the New Mexico Lobos, bringing him to a completion percentage of just under 67% with 3,467 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.
He’s led some impressive comebacks this season, showing grit, and has some to improve on but has flashed on more than just a few occasions:
10. Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Last Week: No. 14
Purdy is a quarterback who received no shortage of criticism last year, struggling with pocket awareness and accuracy, but he’s made strides this season. Iowa State fell in a close one to Texas Tech last weekend, but it was an outing that featured several high points for Purdy as he completed 76% of his passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions, moving to a completion percentage of 73.4% for 2,441 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions this season.
Purdy kept Iowa State in the game and is continuing to look like a difference-maker for this offense outside of “Brocktober”:
11. Phil Jurkovec, Boston College
12. Devin Leary, NC State
13. Sean Clifford, Penn State
14. Brennan Armstrong, UVA
15. Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia
16. JT Daniels, Georgia
17. Tanner Mordecai, SMU
18. Dustin Crum, Kent State
19. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
20. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
21. Chance Nolan, Oregon State
22. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
23. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
24. Jayden De Laura, Washington State
25. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
Honorable mentions/Injured Reserve: Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Tyler Shough (Texas Tech), D’Eriq King (Miami), Chase Brice (App State), Kedon Slovis (USC), Spencer Petras (Iowa), Emory Jones (Florida)
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