College football: Who will be the top quarterbacks of the 2023 season?
Houston, Texas - With Alabama's Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, Ohio State's two-time Heisman finalist CJ Stroud, and other top college football quarterbacks moving on to the NFL, who will lead their teams to glory during the upcoming 2023-24 season?
When 2021's quarterback class – which includes today's NFL passers Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones – graduated to the big league, they all shared one thing in common: their college quarterback replacements were already waiting in the wings.
This season, however, the 2023 class is in a very different situation. The certainty of who will lead their respective teams as offensive chief is uncertain for many big name schools.
There are plenty of things still to unfold as college football heads into spring practice next month. And this year's top quarterbacks should become more clear as teams begin to practice without their players heading for the NFL Draft.
Here’s a look at how the college quarterbacks who may be shouldered with more responsibility and get their chance to shine this season, as their team's former passers move on to the pro ranks.
The Alabama Crimson Tide without Bryce Young
With Young moving on after deciding to turn pro, Jalen Milroe looks to be the next man up for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
When the Heisman winner was injured last season, Milroe stepped up to lead the Crimson Tide offense in a big way. And while the offense looked entirely different in its passing game compared to having Young at the helm, the former four-star prospect was able to utilize his size and athleticism to pull away with a much-needed conference win.
On the other hand, Alabama's redshirt freshman Ty Simpson could also take a crack at being QB1 during the 2023 season.
The five-star passer from Tennessee can potentially put up a fight against Milroe's experience on the field with his superior passing ability.
It's also important to note that any possible changes to the offense or offensive staff will likely have a huge impact on the passing position in the post-Bryce era.
The Ohio State Buckeyes after CJ Stroud
And just like that, Kyle McCord just may be the new big man on campus!
The soon-to-be third-year athlete has been with the Buckeyes program for several years now and even has a tight bond with receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. after playing with him in high school.
While last year's third-string quarterback Devin Brown is also in the running to replace Stroud, it will be hard to trump McCord's experience with this team.
McCord has one career start and has seen action in 12 games over the last two seasons. The passer has experience throwing deep passes for scores alongside of the one of the best wide receiver rooms in the country, which includes Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka.
While anything can happen in college football, a bet on McCord leading the Buckeyes next year would be a smart one.
The Florida Gators without Anthony Richardson
Over the last few of months, things got a little messy in Gainesville - very messy, actually!
First, backup passer Jalen Kitna was dismissed from the team following his arrest for child pornography charges.
Then starter Anthony Richardson declared for the NFL Draft while also opting out of the team's Bowl game, leaving Florida with former Ohio State quarterback Jack Miller at the helm - the Gators' third-string quarterback.
Now, the team is dealing with a huge hit to the program after their second-highest commit ever Jaden Rashada de-committed after a $13 million NIL deal fell apart.
Luckily, the team picked up Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz via the transfer portal.
Florida will likely use Mertz over Miller because of his previous quarterback experience, but the two are still expected to compete for the team's passer position.
With only two quarterbacks heading into the 2023 season, the Gators will likely want to dip back into the transfer portal to pick up at least one more passer ahead of a long season, which could come with potential injuries.
Who will be the nation's top QB next year? With so many to watch, it's anyone's game.
Cover photo: Collage: Carmen Mandato / Sean Gardner / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP