A recruiting class at a crossroads: Evaluating the top QBs from the 2022 cycle

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The early signing period begins next Wednesday. That means we’re seven days away from several programs and their respective fan bases convincing themselves they’ve surely landed their answer at quarterback.

Recruiting offers hope, and each year is a bite at the apple when it comes to winning the quarterback lottery. But like the NFL Draft, quarterback recruiting is a crapshoot. The 2022 recruiting cycle is recent proof of that.

Now that those quarterbacks have spent essentially two full seasons in college, let’s check in on where things stand with the top QBs from the Class of 2022.

The top 10


1. Cade Klubnik



2. Conner Weigman


Texas A&M

3. Ty Simpson



4. Drew Allar


Penn State

5. Walker Howard


LSU/Ole Miss

6. Devin Brown


Ohio State

7. Gunner Stockton



8. Sam Horn



9. Nick Evers



10. Brady Allen



Initially, Quinn Ewers was the top-ranked quarterback in this class, but he reclassified in August 2021 and enrolled at Ohio State. That vaulted Cade Klubnik to the top spot. His numbers were fine as a first-year starter in 2023 (2,580 yards passing, 19 touchdown passes, eight interceptions), but he wasn’t the answer to Clemson’s offensive woes like many believed after DJ Uiagalelei struggled the previous two years. The Tigers offense regressed in scoring and yards per play with Klubnik running the team.

Conner Weigman showed some flashes as a true freshman in 2022, but his 2023 season was limited to four games because of injury. He performed well in the three full games he played and posted some big numbers but none of the defenses he faced were particularly good. The jury is still out.

Ty Simpson is Alabama’s backup, and there is no clear path to a starting role with Jalen Milroe returning in 2024.

Drew Allar’s stat line was decent (2,336 yards passing, 23 touchdown passes, one interception), but Penn State’s offense looked like a mess in its two biggest games of the season against Ohio State and Michigan. We’ll see what a new offensive coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki from Kansas, does for Allar, who entered this season with high expectations.

Two quarterbacks in this group have already transferred. Walker Howard left LSU after one season and transferred to Ole Miss but was behind Jaxson Dart and Spencer Sanders on the Rebels’ depth chart. Dart could return for another season. Nick Evers left Oklahoma after one season and was third string at Wisconsin behind Tanner Mordecai and Braedyn Locke and didn’t attempt a pass this season.

Devin Brown is in line to start the Cotton Bowl against Missouri after Ohio State’s starter, Kyle McCord, entered the transfer portal. But the Buckeyes are actively looking for a quarterback in the portal so Brown still faces an uphill climb for playing time.

Gunner Stockton attempted nine passes for Georgia this season. With Brock Vandagriff’s transfer to Kentucky, Stockton should be the Bulldogs’ No. 2 QB next year — if Carson Beck returns as the starter.

Sam Horn was one of only two quarterbacks to throw a pass for Missouri this year, but the other was starter Brady Cook, who still has eligibility remaining.

Brady Allen threw three passes at Purdue as a true freshman but transferred and followed Jeff Brohm to Louisville last offseason. He attempted only one pass for the Cardinals this season.

Nos. 11-25

PlayerRating School

11. AJ Duffy


Florida State

12. Maalik Murphy



13. Tayven Jackson



14. Katin Houser


Michigan State

15. Tanner Bailey


South Carolina

16. Nate Johnson



17. Jacurri Brown



18. Holden Geriner



19. Nicco Marchiol


West Virginia

20. Justyn Martin



21. Steve Angeli


Notre Dame

22. Braedyn Locke


Mississippi State

23. AJ Swann



24. Zach Pyron


Georgia Tech

25. MJ Morris


NC State

Maalik Murphy might be the best quarterback in this group, but we’ve seen only two starts from him. With the chance that Ewers returns to Texas in 2024, Murphy’s situation will be worth watching. He would be a coveted target in the transfer portal.

AJ Swann has been the most productive of the group, throwing for 2,731 yards and 22 touchdowns in two injury-plagued seasons at Vanderbilt. But he entered the transfer portal after the Commodores won only two games this season.

Two of these quarterbacks transferred after just one season. Tayven Jackson started a few games at Indiana this fall but lost the job to Brendan Sorsby, who has since transferred to Cincinnati. Locke started a few games in place of the injured Mordecai.

Katin Houser, Nate Johnson and MJ Morris all earned a few starts at their respective schools this season. Morris decided to redshirt in the middle of the season and is now in the portal. Houser and Johnson entered the portal once the regular season ended. All three are still looking for new homes.

Florida State was without its top two quarterbacks for the ACC title game and turned to true freshman Brock Glenn — a clear indication AJ Duffy didn’t have a future with the Seminoles. He is in the portal.

Justyn Martin’s future is uncertain at UCLA. Four Bruins QBs threw a pass this season, and Martin was not one of them. Ethan Garbers, who finished the season as the starter, is returning next year.

Tanner Bailey didn’t throw a pass for South Carolina this season and entered the portal.

Steve Angeli is in line to start the Sun Bowl for Notre Dame after Sam Hartman opted out. He’s thrown for 272 yards and four scores this season. Jacurri Brown hasn’t played this year, but he might start Miami’s bowl game because Tyler Van Dyke is in the portal and Emory Williams is injured.

Holden Geriner, Nicco Marchiol and Zach Pyron didn’t play much this season, if at all, and are still with their respective programs … for now.

As you can see, the 2022 quarterback class has been underwhelming through two full seasons. The best player in the cycle might be Arizona’s Noah Fifita, who took over as the starter for the last five games and has 2,515 yards and 25 touchdowns with just three interceptions heading into bowl season.

Fifita was named Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, and the Wildcats, who won nine games, took off once he assumed the starting job. He was ranked No. 690 overall and the No. 38 QB in the class.

Based on passing yardage, the most productive 2022 quarterback this season was Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, who threw for 3,460 yards, 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions for Colorado State. Nicolosi was the No. 86 QB and No. 1,385 overall player in the 2022 cycle.

It was UNLV’s Jayden Maiava, however, who was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year after he passed for 2,626 yards and 14 touchdowns and led the Rebels to the conference title game. Maiava was the 53rd-ranked QB and No. 853 overall player in the 2022 class.

Among the 2022 class, Iowa State’s Rocco Becht, USF’s Byrum Brown and Temple’s E.J. Warner have had some solid production as well. None was rated among the top 30 quarterbacks in that class. Becht was the highest of the trio at No. 33.

Nearly half of the top 50 quarterbacks in this class have already transferred. It should be noted that this class was heavily impacted by the pandemic. The junior year, which for this class was the fall of 2020, is probably the most important for quarterback recruits and their development. Some of the prospects played an abbreviated season and some had their junior seasons moved to the spring.

College coaches also couldn’t watch players in person during that time, which likely contributed to missed evaluations and the amount of transfers we’re seeing.

The truth is we might not learn how good some of the top players in this class are until they find a new home.



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(Photo of Cade Klubnik: Eakin Howard / Getty Images)

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