Some things never change, and yet, here we are with a Notre Dame QB slinging it all over the field, willing his team to win, and impressing national scouts in the process. The FBS Independent QB Rankings are obviously led by Fighting Irish QB Sam Hartman, but an interesting development puts Army QB Bryson Daily directly behind him.
Our weekly iteration of our 2023 Independent QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through the first five weeks of the season.
2023 Independent QB Rankings
As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the FBS Independent QB rankings below consider everything involved with quarterbacking at the major college football level.
While statistics will be mentioned, 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.
Tier 1: The Elite Independent QBs
1) Sam Hartman | Notre Dame
Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
Yards: 1,458 | TDs: 14 | INT: 0 | Comp. %: 66.2% | YPA: 10.1
In a gutsy string of performances, Sam Hartman has ground out a 1-1 record against two incredibly tough opponents. Against Ohio State, the Fighting Irish were famously done in by a personnel issue, but Hartman was hardly the trouble.
But against Duke, Hartman showed resolve, toughness, some grit, and a flare for the dramatic in his come-from-behind drive. He gives Notre Dame exactly what they need, when they need it and is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
Tier 2: Well-Above-Average Independent QBs
2) Bryson Daily | Army
Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
Total Yards: 867 | Total TDs: 8 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 48.3% | YPA: 9.9
Sure, we adjusted the statistics above to include the ground game for Bryson Daily because any snapshot of passing stats wouldn’t give the full picture. He’s commanding a new-look Army offense very well and put up a valiant effort against Syracuse in Week 4.
Daily offers the Black Knights a threat on the ground and clearly, a chance to come from behind in any game with his passing ability. He’ll stand tall in the pocket and dish when he needs to all while making the correct reads on the ground game more often than not.
Tier 3: Above-Average Independent QBs
None applicable. With only four teams, it’s impossible to fill all our tiers here. Surprisingly, though, we’ve had plenty of movement between the tiers so far in 2023.
Tier 4: Average Independent QBs
3) Ta’Quan Roberson | UConn
Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (no change)
Yards: 755 | TDs: 5 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 57.4% | YPA: 6.2
Three consecutive starts for Ta’Quan Roberson haven’t quite yielded victories, but the UConn Huskies have been competent on offense and nearly pulled off two victories because of their quarterback. Roberson has the dynamic ability to lead a team like UConn the rest of the way despite some tough opponents in November.
He’s completing the passes he needs to complete, notably over the middle of the field. If Roberson can sling together some strong drives and aids the offense with his legs, there may be a chance the Huskies can get get a win.
4) Carlos Davis, Taisun Phommachanh | UMass
Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (no change)
Yards: 886 | TDs: 6 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 61.4% | YPA: 8.8
The numbers above indicate Carlos Davis’ performance through three starts in favor of the injured Taisun Phommachanh. Davis was a sound performer, but the offense failed to close the deal under his lead.
The Minutemen returned to Phommachanh in Week 5 against Arkansas State but were undone by their defense. Phommachanh has looked the part this season but after sustaining an injury against Auburn in Week 1, we’ll temper our expectations as to when he can return to form with Toledo, Penn State, and Army on the horizon.
Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done Independent QBs
We’ll remain bullish that no quarterback slips down to this tier.