Mountain West QB Rankings 2023: Jayden Maiava Continues to Pace the Field

Jayden Maiava leads the UNLV Rebels into the Mountain West Championship Game as the No. 1 ranked QB on the Mountain West QB Rankings.

Our weekly iteration of our 2023 Mountain West QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through 13 weeks of the season. Jayden Maiava leads the group into the Mountain West Championship despite a loss to the second-ranked QB Chevan Cordeiro in Week 13.

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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 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. 

The Coaching Carousel is in full swing. Stay updated with the entire College Football Coaching Carousel here to find all the latest coaching firings, hirings, and rumors.

Tier 1: The Elite Mountain West QBs

1) Jayden Maiava | UNLV

Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
Yards: 2,628 | TDs: 14 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 64.0% | YPA: 9.1

Consistency builds character as a college football quarterback, and Jayden Maiava is the new model of consistency out west. He’ll lead the UNLV Rebels into the Mountain West Championship Game despite a small setback in Week 13 against San Jose State.

Maiava threw for over 230 yards and a touchdown and was certainly not to blame for their loss against the Spartans. His touch, accuracy, and poise from the pocket are certainly the best in the conference and he’s an underrated dual-threat.

If he needs to, Maiava can break contain while maintaining his vision downfield and always looking to throw first. Since taking over for an injured Doug Brumfield, Maiava hasn’t looked back.

One of the feel-good stories of the season, Maiava can put a stamp on one of the best performances of the season with an MWC Championship.

2) Chevan Cordeiro | San Jose State

Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
Yards: 2,558 | TDs: 19 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 62.2% | YPA: 7.7

We’re elevating Chevan Cordeiro up to the Elite Tier of Mountain West QBs despite the Spartans missing out on the Mountain West Championship Game appearance by computer rankings alone. Cordeiro, however, deserves all the praise and did everything he could to nearly push them into the title game.

In the season’s final game, Cordeiro threw for two scores and over 250 yards against a vaunted UNLV defense. That was sort of how his season went, for the most part, exceeding expectations and flashing some elite-level talent with his arm.

A bit of a gunslinger throughout his career, the much-traveled Cordeiro had his best seasons as a college quarterback with the Spartans and is a few yards shy of 12,000 career passing yards. He’ll almost undoubtedly get that in SJSU’s bowl game later this year.

Tier 2: Well-Above-Average Mountain West QBs

3) Andrew Peasley | Wyoming

Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (+1)
Yards: 1,823 | TDs: 20 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 60.6% | YPA: 7.6

This Wyoming team was so fun to watch in 2023. They were a hard out for any opponent and oftentimes a dominant team with Andrew Peasley running the show.

In the regular season finale, Peasley threw for two scores and was on time, accurate, and primed for a big day against Nevada. Peasley threw for just 165 yards but had a total of four touchdowns with his underrated dual-threat ability.

Peasley is one of the toughest quarterbacks across the country and showcased that plenty in 2023. He’d do everything he could to extract every yard on each play for the Cowboys and he rallied his team around him just as he elevated his playmakers in space.

It was a tremendous season for the long-time college quarterback in every facet.

Tier 3: Above-Average Mountain West QBs

4) Mikey Keene, Logan Fife | Fresno State

Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (-1)
Yards: 2,596 | TDs: 21 | INT: 9 | Comp. %: 66.9% | YPA: 7.0

The season inexplicably ended on a sour note to a San Diego State offense that lacked the ability to complete a forward pass for the most part. However, if Mikey Keene had any major issue in his game in 2023, it was trying to force the ball into too many tight windows.

Keene trusted his arm too much at times this past season and it caught up with him in the end. Despite injuries that hampered their success, the Bulldogs still had a chance at the Mountain West Championship because of Keene and Logan Fife.

When he was on his game, Keene was accurately throwing dimes downfield and pushing the ball to the perimeter with ease. Those stopped coming in consistent streaks down the stretch and Fresno State fell out of contention.

Keene had a great season when he was healthy in 2023, and there is a lot to build on with another year under Jeff Tedford.

Tier 4: Average Mountain West QBs

5) Dylan Hopkins | New Mexico

Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (+1)
Yards: 2,074 | TDs: 11 | INT: 9 | Comp. %: 55.1% | YPA: 7.4

You wouldn’t be able to tell by just looking at the box score, but Dylan Hopkins was ultra-impressive in the season finale for New Mexico. Hopkins didn’t get any help from his pass catchers as he lit up the field with accurate throws and powerful shots to every level.

Hopkins had a great knowledge of the New Mexico offense, obviously, coming over with offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent, and he took it to new heights at times in 2023. It didn’t always equal victories, but Hopkins’ ability to put the football in tricky spots and throw his receivers open was impressive this season.

For his career, Hopkins has over 6,800 yards now and largely doesn’t get the credit he deserved during his time at UAB and out west in New Mexico. In blistering conditions of high wind, Hopkins orchestrated a great game-tying drive against Utah State to force overtime, but was done in by his defense in the extra periods.

All in all, Hopkins makes his long delivery work for him and work for the offense around him. He’s a big signal-caller with a lot more dual-threat ability than you’d anticipate from watching him. Now that this season is all said and done, Hopkins leaves behind a legacy as a solid college football quarterback.

6) Zac Larrier, Jensen Jones | Air Force

Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (-1)
Total Yards: 1,323 | Total TDs: 12 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 59.7% | YPA: 12.0

The injury to Zac Larrier really hampered the growth of this Air Force offense in 2023 as he made the offense go. Without Larrier, the Falcons were forced to turn to Ben Brittain and, ultimately, John Busha to run the offense against Boise State in Week 13, and it yielded little to no success on the ground or through the air.

Busha had a few nice throws against the Broncos but was limited as a ball carrier. Brittain played a sound few series but could not push it downfield as a passer before Busha entered.

With the regular season all said and done for the Falcons, the loss of Larrier means much more than just an 8-4 record. They dropped their game to Army, and their chances at winning the Commander-In-Chief Trophy hangs in the balance of the Army-Navy game in two weeks.

Larrier was the heartbeat of the offense, and his speed was unquestionably the best attribute this team had going for it as they sat undefeated at 8-0 once upon a time. It shows you the strength of Larrier’s ability to make the right reads on the ground and make something happen with his arms when they drop each game since his injury.

7) Taylen Green, Maddux Madsen | Boise State

Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (no change)
Yards: 1,526 | TDs: 9 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 55.3% | YPA: 7.7

It wasn’t pretty because that just wouldn’t be Boise State football in 2023, but Taylen Green and the Broncos offense got it done against Air Force to keep their slim hopes of a Mountain West Championship Game appearance alive at the time. Green threw for a touchdown and was sharp with his decisions against Air Force in doing so.

It was a relatively simple game plan for Green to execute against the challenging Air Force defense, but he executed it nearly perfectly. He scored on the ground and found his playmakers in space to the short area of the field to keep drives moving and the Air Force offense off the field simultaneously.

Overall, Green battled through adversity and his head coach’s firing to put forth an interesting season’s worth of data and film. After a tough start to the year that led to his benching, he worked himself back into the lineup and was in a position to grant his team near access to the MWC title game in the process.

There is a lot ot like about his athletic profile and arm talent, and if he can continue to make the right decisions out there, he can continue to rise up the rankings and make himself a potential next-level prospect.

8) Brayden Schager | Hawaii

Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (no change)
Yards: 3,542 | TDs: 26 | INT: 14 | Comp. %: 63.2% | YPA: 6.7

What a fun game it was for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and Brayden Schager to end the season. With the roster they have, a four-win season is nothing to sneeze at and the momentum they’ve built to close out the season should carry over into 2024.

Schager and Hawaii successfully ended Colorado State’s season with a game-winning field goal as time expired, knocking them out of bowl contention, and Schager threw for over 300 yards and a score yet again. The season’s final game marked the sixth game Schager threw for over 300 yards and a score.

Schager improved in every metric in 2023 and should be poised for big things under head coach Timmy Chang in 2024 and beyond.

9) Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi | Colorado State

Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (no change)
Yards: 3,460 | TDs: 22 | INT: 16 | Comp. %: 62.1% | YPA: 7.4

A gunslinger by every sense of the word, Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi turned heads against Colorado and never looked back. The season sure did end on a sour note, but he did everything in his power to bring his team back and fought until the final whistle for bowl eligibility.

Fowler-Nicolosi finishes the season with 22 touchdowns against 16 interceptions, while it felt like he could’ve had a few more of each. The receivers didn’t help him across the board at times, and he flashed some high-level accuracy and power to his downfield shots.

He showcased that he could take something off his passes at times and he’ll have to learn to trust his arm but trust his decision to live to play another down in the future to grow upon their 2023 season performance.

Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done Mountain West QBs

10) Cooper Legas, McCae Hillstead, Levi Williams | Utah State

Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (no change)
Yards: 1,815 | TDs: 79 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 64.8% | YPA: 8.5

What a wild season it’s been for the Utah State Aggies. With three different starting quarterbacks, Levi Williams ultimately granted them bowl eligibility in the final week of the regular season. And how interesting it was to watch Williams win the game against New Mexico in Week 13.

Toting the rock 25 times against the Lobos, Williams scored a whopping five touchdowns, including the game-winning score in double overtime, to get that illustrious sixth win on the season. Sure, it was a tumultuous year for Aggie fans, and Week 13 was no different, but the future continues to look bright as this team finds ways to win.

Williams continually broke contain and rolled to his left, his non-dominant side but made it work. He rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns against New Mexico, as they just simply couldn’t catch up to him once he scrambled. He pitched two touchdowns through the air and gave the Aggies a chance to win the game on every drive as their defense nearly let it slip away.

With Williams and Hillstead returning next season, this quarterback room will certainly be an interesting position battle to watch shake out from now until next season. Until then, we get to see who suits up at quarterback for them in a bowl game now.

11) Jalen Mayden | San Diego State

Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (+1)
Yards: 2,031 | TDs: 10 | INT: 9 | Comp. %: 63.4% | YPA: 6.5

Jalen Mayden surely found his groove to end the season for San Diego State and the Aztecs sent head coach Brady Hoke out in style. Mayden, however, was far from consistent in 2023 and the season ultimately took a turn when he couldn’t complete anything downfield.

Mayden is a great story and a great leader of a program despite his limitations as a passer. He willed his team to victory and got his team to four wins despite many struggles.

In the end, he was a 2,000-yard passer for the season season in a row. The decision-making never matched the athleticism and the passing tools never quite matched his leadership ability.

12) Brendon Lewis, AJ Bianco | Nevada

Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (-1)
Yards: 1,313 | TDs: 2 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 55.5% | YPA: 5.6

Brendon Lewis got the final start, but Shane Illingworth finally saw the field in relief against Wyoming. In the end, however, it didn’t seem to matter which quarterback was in the lineup for the Wolf Pack in 2023; the season was a lost cause.

With two wins on the season, neither Lewis, Illingworth, nor AJ Bianco could muster anything remotely close to an above-average outing. The offense didn’t help matters around them, but their woes began and ended with their quarterbacks.

Things will have to change significantly, and it’s unclear whether either quarterback is in the future plans for Nevada.

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