2024 Big 12 QB Rankings: Noah Fifita, Shedeur Sanders Are New Conference Leaders

    New teams mean new leaders for the 2024 Big 12 QB Rankings, as conference realignment brings inevitable ramifications to the hierarchy.

    The Big 12 is getting a facelift for the second year in a row, swelling up from 14 to 16 teams in 2024. OU and Texas depart to the SEC, while Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are joining the conference, leaving a husk in place of what was the Pac-12.

    This type of shakeup has inevitable ramifications for the conference’s QB hierarchy, as new teams bring new leaders to the 2024 Big 12 QB Rankings.

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    2024 Big 12 QB Rankings

    16) Jake Retzlaff, BYU

    Jake Retzlaff is listed because he is a returning starter (four games) with a chance to take over with Kedon Slovis trying for the NFL, but he’ll have plenty of competition this spring and fall. BYU has eight QBs currently on roster, including two transfers with Gerry Bohanon from USF and Western Michigan’s Treyson Bourguet.

    Retzlaff will have to fight for the starting spot after not earning it in his short opportunity In relief of Slovis, throwing for 648 yards, three TDs, and three picks.

    15) Josh Hoover, TCU Horned Frogs

    The Horned Frogs’ fairy-tale 2022 season turned into a nightmarish reality in 2023, as TCU went from a National Championship appearance to a 5-7 finish. With Max Duggan no longer around, Josh Hoover and Chandler Morris split QB duties, with Hoover making six starts, managing 2,206 passing yards, 15 TDs, and nine picks.

    Morris transferred to UNT following the season, clearing the way for Hoover in 2024. While his freshman campaign left plenty to be desired, and he won’t practice in this spring with an injury, he’s expected to be back for redemption as a sophomore this season.

    14) Jalon Daniels, Kansas

    A back injury in fall camp last season limited Jalon Daniels to just three games as Jason Bean played decently in his stead, throwing for 2,130 yards, 18 TDs, and seven INTs in 10 starts.

    Daniels and Bean have gone back and forth as the Jayhawks starter from 2021-2023 — Bean with 23 starts, Daniels with 15 — but the road is cleared for Daniels to take over with Bean graduated. Heading into his fifth season, all with the Jayhawks, Daniels will have to shake off his recurring back tightness as he takes the over in 2024.

    13) Jaden Rashada, Arizona State

    Like Daniels, injuries limited Jaden Rashada to just three starts, throwing for 485 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions as a true freshman. It will likely go down as redshirt season, as he didn’t appear in four or more games.

    Rashada gets a little grace on this list based on his potential and expectations after a tumultuous recruiting process as one of the most coveted prospects in the country. Recruiting drama and injuries aside, Rashada is the Sun Devils man behind center heading into his second season, with potentially a full slate of eligibility left.

    12) Donovan Smith/Zeon Chriss, Houston Cougars

    A Texas Tech transfer, Donovan Smith played admirably in a rough season for the Houston Cougars, throwing for 2,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 picks. He stayed put even as his head coach Dana Holgerson was replaced by Willie Fritz, and even still when Fritz went into the transfer portal and grabbed Louisiana’s freshman phenom Zeon Chriss.

    Smith and Chriss will compete for the starting job in Houston, with the edge going to Smith as a fifth-year senior. That said, the former Ragin’ Cajun threw for 1,222 yards, 11 TDs, and five interceptions while rushing for 492 yards and six scores last year and will provide stern competition.

    11) Avery Johnson, Kansas State

    One of several exciting freshman in the Big 12, Avery Johnson might be the most electric of the bunch. He only made two starts, but appeared in eight games and was heavily rotated with starter Will Howard.

    Johnson completed 37 of 66 pass attempts (56.1%) for 479 yards and five scores with no picks while rushing for 296 yards and seven TDs. Johnson’s first game in the Big 12, he tied a school record with five rushing scores in a 38-21 win over Texas Tech. With Howard off to Ohio State, Johnson aims to climb up the 2024 Big 12 QB Rankings as the Wildcats’ QB1 this year.

    10) Brendan Sorsby, Cincinnati Bearcats

    After an abysmal first season in the Big 12, along with Emory Jones graduating, head coach Scott Satterfield realized he needed a revamp at QB ahead of his second year at the helm for Cincinnati.

    He went to the portal and came back with Brendan Sorsby, a young and dynamic dual-threat from Indiana. He took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2022 before starting seven games for the Hoosiers last year, tossing 1,587 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

    Sorsby has three years left and has shown enough in his limited time that he should help improve a Bearcats offense that finished 12th in the Big 12 in passing.

    9) DeQuan Finn, Baylor Bears

    Another newcomer on this list, Baylor head coach Dave Aranda elicited the services of Toledo QB DeQuan Finn from the transfer portal to make up for Blake Shapen leaving for Mississippi State. Finn spent five seasons with the Rockets, starting 31 games over the last three with 6,924 passing yards, 62 TD throws, and 23 picks, picking up 1,809 yards on the ground with 25 touchdowns.

    As a sixth-year senior, Finn has just one year left, but that might be enough for Aranda, who is believed to be coaching for his job this season after consecutive losing seasons.

    8) Alan Bowman, Oklahoma State Cowboys

    After being granted a seventh season with a medical waiver, Alan Bowman is an elder statesman on the list with three years at Texas Tech (2018-2020), followed by two at Michigan (2021-2022), before joining the Cowboys last season.

    MORE: 2024 Big 12 Transfer Portal Rankings

    With no starts since 2020, Bowman took the reins for the Cowboys with 13 starts, throwing for 3,460 yards, 15 TDs, and 14 INTs. At Tech, he started 16 games, throwing for 5,260 yards, 23 TDs, and 17 picks.

    Bowman shook off the rust last season, but he’ll have to protect the ball better after the Cowboys registered the second-most interceptions in the Big 12 last season.

    7) Cam Rising, Utah Utes

    Another seventh-year player, Cam Rising, missed last season with a torn ACL.  After one season at Texas in 2019, Rising has been with the Utes for the last five years, earning 2021 All-Pac-12 First Team and a 2022 Honorable Mention as the team’s full-time starter. In those two seasons, he threw for 5,527 yards, 46 touchdowns to 13 picks, while rushing for 965 yards and 12 scores.

    The Utes had a tough time under center in Rising’s absence, finishing 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring last year, but his return should make for a manageable transition to the Big 12.

    6) Behren Morton, Texas Tech Red Raiders

    Starting the 2023 season as a backup, and then battling a nagging shoulder injury all season after taking over, Behren Morton still cemented himself as the Red Raiders’ quarterback of the future. In eight starts, he tossed for 1,757 yards and 15 scores with eight picks while running in another four TDs.

    While his stats didn’t light up the box score, Morton provided a solid foundation for head coach Joey McGuire to build on heading into Morton’s junior season.

    5) Garrett Greene, West Virginia Mountaineers

    Garrett Greene waited in the wings for his first three seasons (2020-2022) with the Mountaineers. He appeared in 22 games with two starts, being used primarily as a runner with nine scores on the ground and even at receiver with four catches for 32 yards in 2022.

    He took over full-time at quarterback last year with 12 starts, throwing for 2,406 yards, 16 TDs, and four interceptions while rushing for 772 yards and 13 scores. With a fifth season as a member of the 2020 COVID class, Greene is the clear-cut starter for head coach Neal Brown heading into 2024.

    4) Rocco Becht, Iowa State Cyclones

    The Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2023, Rocco Becht was handed the keys to the Cyclones’ offense last season, and he didn’t leave any doubts when he kept them. He threw for 3,120 yards, 23 TDs to eight picks, resetting Iowa State’s freshman records for yards, touchdowns, and completions (231).

    He threw for the third most yards and fifth most touchdowns for a freshman in the Big 12. Now a sophomore, an impressive debut for Becht in 2023 has him in line for an encore in 2024 as he develops further.

    3) KJ Jefferson, UCF Knights

    With incumbent starting QB John Rhy Plumlee graduating, UCF head coach Gus Malzahn went to the portal for QB relief and found a gem with KJ Jefferson coming over from Arkansas. A three-year starter in five seasons with the Razorbacks, he has 38 career starts, 36 from 2021-2023.

    While in the SEC, he had 7,911 career passing yards, 67 TDs, and 18 interceptions, with 1,876 rushing yards and 21 TDs. Jefferson started 12 games last year, throwing for 2,107 yards, 19 TDs, and eight interceptions, with 447 yards rushing and two scores. A sixth-year senior, he’ll have to acclimate to his new surroundings, but he’s primed for a big first year in the Big 12.

    2) Shedeur Sanders, Colorado Buffalos

    Colorado was on everyone’s radar at the beginning of 2023, with head coach Deion Sanders coming to town and bringing “new luggage” from Jackson State, including his quarterback and son, Shedeur Sanders. The shimmer faded as Colorado finished with four wins, losing its last six, but the Buffalos still had a top-five offense in the Pac-12 as Shedeur Sanders shined on.

    He threw for 3,230 yards, 27 TDs, and three interceptions while rushing for another four scores. In the two years prior at Jackson State, he threw for a combined 6,989 yards passing, 70 TDs to 14 INTs.

    Now a senior, the Buffalos have much to prove as they move to the Big 12, and they’ll need Sanders to exceed upon his decent first season in Boulder to do it.

    1) Noah Fifita, Arizona Wildcats

    Noah Fifita didn’t come into the 2023 season as the starter for the Wildcats, but he didn’t give the job back after taking over for an injured Jayden de Laura. He finished with nine starts, throwing for 2,969 yards, 25 TDs, and six interceptions while setting a program record for completion percentage at 72.4%.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big 12 QB Rankings

    He earned 2023 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, the same award de Laura won in 2021 at Washington State. With new Arizona head coach Brent Brennan replacing Jedd Fisch, who left for Washington, Fifita decided to stay put through the coaching change.

    Fifita will have a new coach in a new conference for his sophomore campaign but heads into it on top of the Big 12 QB Rankings.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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