The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Top 25 QB Rankings for 2022
The Sporting News put out its annual Top 25 Quarterback Rankings last week. There are some really good quarterbacks on this list, and a couple of great ones. Nine of the QB’s listed are from the SEC.
Below is my “good, the bad, and the ugly” take some of the players on this list, and some that aren’t.
It’s just my opinion. So here goes.
#25. Stetson Bennett, Georgia
Bennett at this spot tells you everything you need to know about Georgia’s chances of a berth in the national championship game, much less a repeat as the Top Dawgs in college football.
They return just three starters from that generational defense from a year ago. Not to mention, Bennett’s top returning receiver, Jermaine Burton, transferred to Alabama.
Bennett is also ranked behind a former FCS-level star (#23 Cam Ward, now at Washington State) and a redshirt freshman who has yet to throw a pass in a college game (#21 Quinn Ewers, Texas).
#11. Malik Cunningham, Louisville
I disagree with this spot. Last season, Cunningham was 25-yards shy of 4,000 yards of total offense in 2021. He should be ranked in the Top Ten.
Cunningham and #8 Dillon Gabriel (of Oklahoma) should swap places on this list.
6. KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
Jefferson can take over a game with his arm and his legs: 2676 yards, 21 TDs, and only 4 INTs. He rushed for 664 yards and scored another 6 TDs (which led the team). Jefferson went six consecutive games without throwing an INT.
#5. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
This selection just reinforces my belief that the Vols will emerge as the champions of the SEC East in 2022.
#4. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
If McCall played for a Power 5 team, he would be ranked in the Top 3 in the country. As it is, being the top rated G5 quarterback is telling.
But what may be even more telling about this list is the lack of a representative from the QB room of Texas A&M, the preseason #5 team in the country.
A couple of months ago, people were mentioning the Aggies in the same breath as Alabama, mostly because of the top-rated recruiting class of all time (according to 247sports.com) that Jimbo Fisher and staff just locked up for the 2022 recruiting cycle.
But the Aggies have fallen from the headlines, possibly a result of conference realignment and expansion being moved to the front page. Tune in to the SEC Media Days going on this week to hear Fisher’s remarks about the upcoming season.
However, questions remain regarding Texas A&M. One could start in that very same quarterback room, consisting of Max Johnson (transfer from LSU), injured 2021 starter Haynes King, and true freshman Connor Weigman. One will emerge as the starter for the 2022 season.
Johnson completed 60% of his passes for 2814 yards and 27 TDs. He threw only 6 INTs for an LSU team that went 6–6 in the regular season. Johnson did not play in LSU’s bowl game.
King was injured in the second game vs Colorado last season, and his season was done. King’s replacement, Zach Calzada, finished the season and then transferred to Auburn.
“I have more question marks about A&M than I do Arkansas.” — Jordan Rodgers of the SEC Network, on the Paul Feinbaum Show, July 18, 2022, when asked which team could be the #3 team in the SEC behind Alabama and Georgia in 2022.
Oh, and by the way, these same Aggies seem to have recruited all they need based on the fact they have the 61st ranked recruiting class for the 2023 recruiting cycle, ranked behind #50 Vanderbilt (according to 247sports).
That’s a substantial drop-off from the #1 rated class of all time.
Make no mistake, the pressure on Fisher to win this season will be immense. Is he really a quarterback “guru,” a developer of quarterbacks? Can Fisher mold Max Johnson, Haynes King, or Connor Weigman into the difference maker they need to make a serious run at a conference championship and the college football playoff?
The last quarterback he developed into a difference maker was Jameis Winston a decade ago at Florida State during their national championship run of 2013.
Yes, the quarterbacks on this list are experienced and will be counted on to produce. Some may exceed last year’s numbers, some may even regress.
Consistent play and staying healthy, at the most important position on the field, will be the difference between hoisting the hardware in January and packing up the football gear at the end of November.
Thanks for reading.
Material for this article was sourced from “College Football’s Top 25 Quarterbacks for 2022, from Stetson Bennett to Bryce Young,” by Bill Bender, The Sporting News, July 13, 2022, and cfbstats.com.
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