It’s going to be a hard-fought race for the top spot in our 2023 Mountain West QB Rankings. Chevan Cordeiro and Mikey Keene continue to duel it out with Taylen Green waiting in the wings.
Our weekly iteration of our 2023 Mountain West QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through the first three weeks of the season.
2023 Mountain West QB Rankings
As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the Mountain West 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 Mountain West QBs
You may be, but we’re not quite there in this relationship yet. Not when it comes to using the Elite Tier willy-nilly. We have hope that someone can rise to Elite status in the Mountain West, but again, we’re not quite there yet.
Tier 2: Well-Above-Average Mountain West QBs
1) Mikey Keene | Fresno State
Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (+1)
A defensive shellacking and a terrific outing from Mikey Keene gave Fresno State a marquee blowout win over Pac-12 foe Arizona State. Keene threw for nearly 300 yards and was solid in doing so.
There weren’t any ‘wow’ moments, just a masterfully run game plan and flawlessly executed offensive performance that indicates what the baseline of this offense is if Keene is playing mistake-free football. That’s a sign of great things to come for Jeff Tedford and Co.
2) Chevan Cordeiro | San Jose State
Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (-1)
The San Jose State Spartans needed just one more throw or one fewer mistake from Chevan Cordeiro if they wanted to knock off MAC favorite Toledo. Cordeiro played too much of a boom-or-bust game against the Rockets, and has lost his top spot to Keene in the process.
Still, Cordeiro has wowed with his arm talent and against Toledo that was no different. His downfield power is unmatched and he’s a willing gunslinger. Harnessing his talent to a consistent pass-for-pass basis is key to his growth this year.
3) Taylen Green | Boise State
Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (no change)
It was nice to see Taylen Green and Boise State get back in the win column and even nicer to see how they did so. Riding a strong rushing attack mixed with Green pushing the ball well downfield, it was a sound victory and great performance overall.
We all know Green is a dynamic athlete, but more performances from within the structure of the offense like the one against North Dakota are signs of promise that he’ll take the next step as a passer instead of just an athlete for the Broncos.
Tier 3: Above-Average Mountain West QBs
4) Zac Larrier | Air Force
Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (+4)
For an offense that has arguably the top defense in the Mountain West at its disposal, Zac Larrier certainly knows how to keep things moving for the Falcons. The Air Force signal-caller ran a clean game against Utah State, moving the ball up and down the field against the Aggies, totaling over 350 yards on the ground and nearly 100 through the air.
It’s a new-look offense with Larrier’s speed leading the way, and it’s worked to the tune of a 3-0 start to the year. With some tough conference matchups ahead, Larrier’s command of the offense is clear and his confidence is growing. He’s a player to watch whenever he takes the field.
5) Doug Brumfield, Jayden Maiava | UNLV
Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (+1)
Thanks to Jayden Maiava, the Mountain West knocked off their second Power Five opponent in Week 3 as the UNLV Rebels came from behind and knocked off Vanderbilt in dramatic fashion. Maiava was cool from the pocket and remarkably poised for a quarterback thrown into action against an SEC defense.
He spotted the ball downfield with accuracy and touch, layering shots when necessary and keeping the offense on schedule. When Maiava needed to, he pushed it deep and came away with success, none more noteworthy than his shot deep to Ricky White down the left sideline that set up the game-winning field goal.
Brumfield is the quarterback of the 2023 season we were reminded after the game, but it’s a great thing to know that they have Maiava in the wings in case Brumfield is injured again.
Tier 4: Average Mountain West QBs
6) Andrew Peasley | Wyoming
Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (-2)
Evan Svoboda was forced into action against Texas in Week 3 in Andrew Peasley’s absence, and found little to no success. While it remains to be seen if Peasley would have found success, or if he’ll play in Week 4, one thing is clear: He gives the Cowboys the best chance for a victory when he’s on the field.
A gritty playmaker, Peasley has an edge to him. He finds receivers open downfield from the pocket or buys time with great pocket presence as well as field vision to extend plays and keep drives alive. Wyoming will need him for conference play.
7) Dylan Hopkins | New Mexico
Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (no change)
It wasn’t a bad performance for Dylan Hopkins against his new rival New Mexico State. Still, the loss hurts his chances of moving up as he made a couple of ill-fated decisions that ultimately could have gone the other way.
Hopkin’s familiarity with the offense is clear and he certainly isn’t afraid to test the deep waters; he just needs to improve his accuracy when doing so. Like so many other quarterbacks, consistency is the name of the game for Hopkins.
8) Brayden Schager | Hawaii
Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (-3)
They might throw the ball all over the field, but if your receivers can’t hang on to it and your quarterback can’t place balls accurately away from coverage, you won’t win many games. The Oregon defense surely is a tough nut to crack and Hawaii’s Brayden Schager wasn’t able to figure them out.
Still, we know what he’s capable of when Schager is on his game and they’re a fun offense to watch when he’s humming. It’s fair to say he likely won’t face many defenses as tough as Oregon’s for the rest of the season.
Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done Mountain West QBs
9) Cooper Legas, McCae Hillstead | Utah State
Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (no change)
What to make of this quarterback situation in Logan? The Air Force defense stymied Cooper Legas on a primetime midweek game in front of the whole national audience, and the world watched as McCae Hillstead moved the ball up and down the field on the Falcons.
Is Hillstead the long-term answer? The freshman surely looked it against Air Force as he was letting throws rip downfield, left and right, and dominating over the middle. He was terrific from inside the pocket and made quick decisions.
If he’s the starter going forward and plays more games like he did against Air Force, look for this group to move up, quickly.
10) Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi | Colorado State
Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (+2)
Everyone watched as Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi wowed with some throws against Colorado. Somehow, we hadn’t seen this level of talent from Fowler-Nicolosi before Saturday night, and while we’re cautiously optimistic he can grow from this outing, we’ll move the Rams’ QB up just a few spots.
It was a unique performance, a gunslinging type of outing for Fowler-Nicolosi. He picked on the Buffaloes defenders over the middle and found great success in doing so. Can he push the ball to the boundary and keep the same accuracy and power, though?
11) Jalen Mayden | San Diego State
Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (-1)
As much as we love the story of Jalen Mayden, the fact of the matter remains: He’s a limited quarterback when it comes to his downfield passing and this team is not built to come from behind. Finding themselves down against Oregon State, the Aztecs were reminded of that fact on Saturday afternoon.
Mayden still threw for a respectable outing, but it was far little far too late against the Beavers. Finding more success deep is the key, or at the very least, throwing catchable passes past the sticks will do as they move forward.
12) Brendon Lewis | Nevada
Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (no change)
If you missed the Nevada game against Kansas, don’t fret, you didn’t miss much from the Nevada offense despite the final score. Brendon Lewis scored twice on the ground and the rushing attack at Nevada kept them in it.
Lewis struggled, however, as a passer. He was inaccurate to each level of the field and ball security issues reared their ugly heads again. The Wolf Pack put forth a valiant effort but the inability to throw it past the sticks cost them the game.