Big 12 QB Rankings 2023: Dillon Gabriel Stays Atop the Group, Quinn Ewers At No. 2

    Dillon Gabriel leads the way in the Big 12 QB Rankings despite Oklahoma's place outside of the Big 12 Championship.

    Our weekly iteration of our 2023 Big 12 QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through 13 weeks of the season. Dillon Gabriel leads the Big 12 quarterbacks in every metric and in our rankings despite their place outside of the Big 12 Championship Game.

    2023 Big 12 QB Rankings

    As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the Big 12 QB rankings below consider everything involved with quarterbacking at the major college football level.

    While statistics are listed, they were not the lone deciding factor in ranking the athletes. The list below prefers programs with a solidified quarterback situation and one signal-caller who plays significant snaps against top-tier competition. Two-quarterback systems will always be looked down upon, especially in those cases where an answer has not yet been provided for the long term.

    Other factors in these rankings include but are not limited to game film, injury history, play-calling, offensive system knowledge and continuity, general quarterbacking mechanics, level of competition, the elevation of supporting casts, and several other influential factors.

    All QB Rankings: 1-133 | ACC | B1G | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | AAC | C-USA | MAC | MWC | Sun Belt | FBS Ind. 

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    Tier 1: Elite Big 12 QBs

    1) Dillon Gabriel | Oklahoma

    Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
    Yards: 3,660 | TDs: 30 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 69.3% | YPA: 9.5

    What a game it was for Dillon Gabriel against TCU. Leaving nothing to chance, Gabriel was his dominant self to the deep portion of the field; although he underthrew a deep post that was intercepted, he easily cruised to an impressive 69-point outing against the Horned Frogs.

    Needing a win and some help to reach the Big 12 Championship Game, Gabriel did all he could to ensure the Sooners didn’t squander their potential opportunity to make their conference’s postseason bid. He threw for 400 yards and three scores and rushed for another.

    Gabriel spread the ball around incredibly well and found his receivers open across the field and at every level. It was another game of what we know Gabriel is as a quarterback: An accurate downfield thrower of dimes, and TCU got torched.

    With 3,660 passing yards this season, Gabriel has now set a new personal best for passing yards in a season, surpassing his tremendous true freshman season with UCF. Gabriel now has 14,865 career passing yards and 125 career passing touchdowns. What a career its been for No. 8.

    2) Quinn Ewers | Texas

    Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
    Yards: 2,709 | TDs: 17 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 69.8% | YPA: 8.9

    The Texas Longhorns are one of the hottest teams in the country with Quinn Ewers playing football like he has down the stretch of the 2023 season. Ewers needed to do very little against Texas Tech to obliterate the Red Raiders, yet he flashed his elite arm talent nonetheless.

    Ewers finishes the regular season with 2,709 passing yards and 17 touchdowns, completing nearly 70% of his throws in the process. He is absolutely an elite quarterback across the country and has some of the top talent anywhere in the nation.

    He’ll take something off a throw when necessary, find his receivers at any level with ease, and can stand tall in the pocket without fear. Ewers moves the field with his eyes and can beat any opponent in front of him when he’s on top of his game.

    Tier 2: Well-Above-Average Big 12 QBs

    3) Rocco Becht | Iowa State

    Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (+2)
    Yards: 2,674 | TDs: 20 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 63.5% | YPA: 8.1

    What a season it was for Rocco Becht and the Iowa State Cyclones. From his head coach starting the season on the hot seat and even yelling at fans, ISU turned things around and they have their young signal-caller to thank for that.

    Sure, Abu Sama ran through a blizzard and brick wall at the same time in Week 13, but Becht certainly had his moments in Snowmaggedon against Kansas State. He needed just eight completions to throw for three touchdowns, after all.

    His receivers largely did the work after the catch, but this season has shown more than enough from Becht to indicate just how bright the future is in Ames. Becht grew in front of our eyes this season and has not only risen up these Big 12 QB Rankings but also shown out on the national audience.

    He’s cleared 2,500 passing yards and is in line for some great success if he continues his growth into the Cyclones’ bowl game and offseason circuit.

    4) Will Howard | Kansas State

    Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (-1)
    Yards: 2,643 | TDs: 24 | INT: 10 | Comp. %: 61.3% | YPA: 7.4

    A season after leading the Kansas State to a dream finish as the Big 12 Champions, it came to a screeching halt for Will Howard and Co. in 2023. Howard fared very well on the surface, but it didn’t quite amount to the success they set a season ago.

    In their final regular season game, Howard was forced to air it out in a proverbial blizzard as his defense laid an egg. The snow on the ground didn’t stop him, however, as he threw for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown, littering the field with multiple highlight-reel throws given the circumstances.

    With a full slate of games at his disposal, Howard and the Wildcats lost four games by a combined score of 21 points, all of their losses coming in one-possession games. Howard reached career-high figures in every metric as a thrower and flashed his high-level decision-making almost weekly.

    UPDATE: Howard has entered the transfer portal in a somewhat shocking bit of news since these rankings were been published

    5) Jalon Daniels, Jason Bean | Kansas

    Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (+4)
    Yards: 1,681 | TDs: 12 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 61.4% | YPA: 9.8

    Once upon a time, injuries didn’t derail the Kansas Jayhawks quarterback situation and we put them all the way up to No. 1 in the conference. Well, that Jason Bean returned against Cincinnati, and he lit up the field.

    Documented as the fastest quarterback in college football this season, Bean doesn’t get the credit as a passer he deserves. Sure, he’s got a bit of a long windup to get the ball out, but Bean is accurate, powerful, and poised in the pocket.

    Bean will dissect defenses and understand how to pick and choose his shots. When it comes down to his, he’ll buy time with his legs and always looks to throw first, a far cry from where he was a run-first quarterback at North Texas.

    Though the season ended on a high note, we’ll always wonder what this season (and last season) could have looked like had Jalon Daniels and Bean stayed healthy all season long.

    6) Alan Bowman | Oklahoma State

    Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (-2)
    Yards: 2,808 | TDs: 10 | INT: 11 | Comp. %: 59.9% | YPA: 6.8

    What a game it was for Alan Bowman and Oklahoma State. Bowman certainly did have his finest stuff against BYU, but his running back — Ollie Gordon II — did. The Cowboys battled back and somehow, some way made it into the Big 12 Championship Game.

    Against Texas, Bowman will have not to stare down his receivers like he did against BYU. He’ll have to hit every level of the field with better touch and accuracy against a ball-hawking secondary. Bowman will have to be lights out like he showcased he can do this season, albeit in inconsistent spurts.

    A veteran signal-caller, once the Cowboys settled on Bowman as their leader in the backfield, Oklahoma State was better off. He’ll never wow you with his arm talent, but Bowman will (for the most part) always make the right decision to keep the offense on schedule and in front of the chains.

    He’ll need to do that and more against Texas if they want to win the Big 12.

    Tier 3: Above-Average Big 12 QBs

    7) Garrett Greene | West Virginia

    Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (no change)
    Yards: 2,178 | TDs: 15 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 53.2% | YPA: 8.6

    A gunslinger adventure that was Week 13 saw Garrett Greene at his finest. He lit up the field with some downfield shots that turned the heads of everyone watching.

    Greene looked downfield often and utilized his legs when the Baylor defense crept back. It was about as good of a season-ending performance as you could have expected from Greene as he showcased himself as his best form to finish the year.

    The season wasn’t perfect for West Virginia, in fact, it was far from perfect. Yet, they won eight games and did it the hard-nosed, old-fashioned West Virginia way. Greene ran through crowded second lines to extend drives and threaded the needle more than a few more times in the air.

    Time will tell what this offense looks like in 2024, but if Greene is back to slinging it all over the field like he did against Baylor, they’ll be better off.

    8) John Rhys Plumlee | UCF

    Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (no change)
    Yards: 2,073 | TDs: 13 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 63.9% | YPA: 9.1

    When UCF fell behind to Houston to start off their Week 13 outing, it was John Rhys Plumlee who went to work. He found his receivers in space and dotted the intermediate level of the field with accurate passes that extended drives.

    Plumlee got a lot of help after the catch against Houston, but his dual-threat ability and athleticism made him a must-account for player that opened up those YAC chances. He’s a dynamic athlete who potentially has a future in the NFL in the vein of Taysom Hill, even if he’s a much better passer than Hill ever was.

    On the college field, however, we’ll get one last look at Plumlee in 2023 during their bowl game after the Knights became the only newcomer to the Big 12 to reach bowl-eligible status behind Plumlee.

    9) Behren Morton | Texas Tech

    Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (-3)
    Yards: 1,498 | TDs: 12 | INT: 7 | Comp. %: 62.0% | YPA: 6.0

    The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a quarterback dilemma on their hands. Behren Morton has flashed potential when he’s been forced into duty, but he’s been far too inconsistent and struggles to make any correct reads against top-tier competition.

    With the way the season ended against Texas, one would think the Red Raiders would be shoppers in the transfer portal for a quarterback to replace the transferring Tyler Shough and ensure they get a veteran leader to continue to build their program under head coach Joey McGuire.

    Morton has a ton of talent and is a dynamic athlete; however, his field vision and decision-making have been far below average during his time in Lubbock. If Morton wants to take the next step, those are the aspects of his game that will have to improve.

    Tier 4: Average Big 12 QBs

    10) Chandler Morris, Josh Hoover | TCU

    Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (+1)
    Yards: 2,206 | TDs: 14 | INT: 9 | Comp. %: 62.1% | YPA: 7.4

    Is Josh Hoover the quarterback who took the field in the second half against Oklahoma and the entire game against BYU or is he the quarterback who struggled to find any sort of consistency against Kansas State and Texas Tech during a rough stretch of the season?

    We’re leaning toward the former side there as Hoover has impressed since he took over the starting job back on October 14 against BYU. Hoover threw four touchdowns against Oklahoma, though it was too little, too late to make a dent in a 69-point outing from the Sooners.

    Hoover threw for 15 touchdowns this season, proving he wasn’t afraid of any defense in front of him. He threw for over 300 yards in all but one of his starts and for over 400 in two games as the starter. A gunslinger of sorts, Hoover’s development will be one of the more interesting aspects of this TCU team going forward now that they’re not bowl-eligible.

    11) Donovan Smith | Houston

    Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (-1)
    Yards: 2,801 | TDs: 22 | INT: 13 | Comp. %: 64.5% | YPA: 7.1

    Houston fans got the true Donovan Smith experience in 2023. He won them some games. He lost them some games. And be darned, he made it exciting.

    Smith finished the season with solid first half and a far-below-average second half against UCF and the Cougars failed to knock off their new-conference for and old-conference rival Knights.

    When he was at his best in 2023, Smith flashed the type of arm talent and accuracy that make NFL scouts drool. However, those were often marred by ill-fated decisions and lackluster consistency on a down-to-down basis.

    Smith is an underrated athlete and perhaps with a better offensive line, he could get something done the right way. His decision-making, at times, was spot on and he elevated talent around him. Unfortunately, those moments were too far and few between for Houston to win more than four games this fall.

    Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done Big 12 QBs

    12) Blake Shapen | Baylor

    Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (no change)
    Yards: 2,188 | TDs: 13 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 61.7% | YPA: 7.3

    It just wasn’t meant to be this way for Baylor in 2023. The Bears have since moved on from a bevy of members of their coaching staff and prior to even getting to write up Blake Shapen’s recap of Week 13, he’s also moved on.

    If that’s not an indicator at how the season went for Shapen and Co. in Waco, I don’t know what is. The defense struggled mightily. An offensive line that was a staple of success under Coach Eric Mateos unfathomably was their weakest link. And injuries saw Shapen limit himself to just a handful of above-average moments.

    In Week 13, Sawyer Robertson got the start and the writing was on the wall for Shapen’s departure. Robertson threw for a touchdown and over 200 yards with some accurate throws downfield, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a poor defense and perhaps even worse clock management.

    The future is shaky — at best — in Waco under head coach Dave Aranda. With Robertson getting the season’s final start, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked for a veteran signal-caller in the transfer portal this offseason.

    13) Kedon Slovis, Jake Retzlaff | BYU

    Last Week’s Ranking: 13th (no change)
    Yards: 1,716 | TDs: 12 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 57.5% | YPA: 6.5

    Buoyed by their defense, the BYU Cougars leaped out to a big lead over Oklahoma State in Week 13. However, hopes of a bowl game and knocking the Cowboys out of the Big 12 Championship Game quickly vanished in the second half and when Jake Retzlaff had to play at a frantic pace.

    Retzlaff was erratic with his decisions and inaccurate with his passes against Oklahoma State, essentially mirroring his 2023 season. He was no Kedon Slovis, and Slovis was no Jaren Hall/Zach Wilson in any sense of the word.

    After years of top-tier quarterback play in Provo, the 2023 season took a major detour from that. No strangers to one-year fixes at quarterback, the offseason will be interesting as to which direction the program goes at the sport’s most important position.

    14) Emory Jones | Cincinnati

    Last Week’s Ranking: 14th (no change)
    Yards: 2,219 | TDs: 18 | INT: 10 | Comp. %: 61.2% | YPA: 6.9

    A quarterback change that needed to happen on a full-time basis didn’t really take place in the Queen City and the Bearcats were punished for it. Easily the worst quarterback situation in the conference, Emory Jones flashed in one game and disappointed in 11.

    It was a disaster of a first season in the Big 12 for the Bearcats, and the final game of the season is indicative of just how bad it was. Jones completed 15 passes for hardly over 100 yards and had a touchdown, but it was marred by terrible decisions everywhere else. In the end, it was a 33-point loss for a completely underwhelmed unit.

    For Jones, his final game as a college passer ended with that touchdown, but his season ends on a sour note. The well-traveled Jones threw for over 7,000 yards in his career and 50+ touchdowns, but it just wasn’t meant to be in 2023.

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