SEC QB Rankings 2023: Jayden Daniels Ends Regular Season Atop the List

    The SEC QB Rankings see Jayden Daniels finish the regular season atop the list and on the shortlist for the Heisman Trophy.

    Our weekly iteration of our 2023 SEC QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through 13 weeks of the season. And what a season it was from the SEC QBs. Despite some underappreciated expectations, the SEC quarterbacks delivered week in and week out in 2023.

    2023 SEC QB Rankings

    As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the SEC 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 SEC QBs

    1) Jayden Daniels | LSU

    Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
    Yards: 3,812 | TDs: 40 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 72.2% | YPA: 11.7

    Just another day at the office for Jayden Daniels as the LSU signal-caller ended his 2023 campaign on a high note. Sure, it got off to a slow start against Texas A&M, but Daniels still put forth his dominant form to the tune of four passing touchdowns and another 100 yards on the ground.

    Daniels finishes his regular season campaign as a worthy Heisman Trophy candidate, leading the Tigers to a 9-3 record despite some abhorrent defensive play this year. He led the nation in yards per carry, averaging a ridiculous 8.4 yards per carry.

    Finishing with 3,812 passing yards and 40 touchdowns against just four interceptions, it could be said that no player meant more to his team than Jayden Daniels this season. He finishes atop the list of SEC QB Rankings and officially pushed Bo Nix for the top spot overall.

    2) Jalen Milroe | Alabama

    Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
    Yards: 2,526 | TDs: 21 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 66.4% | YPA: 10.6

    The Iron Bowl leads to heroics and crazy finishes almost every year and 2023 was no different. And to be fair, Jalen Milroe played an incredible game all throughout the contest against Auburn. Alabama got the last laugh because of Milroe but now enters the SEC Championship Game with a lot to prove.

    Milroe threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns against Auburn, none better than his game-winning touchdown toss to Isaiah Bond. On the game-winner, Milroe flashed the potential elite arm talent he has, if he can harness it on a down-by-down basis.

    Fortunately for Alabama, it’s looking more and more like he can do such a thing. The Georgia defense proved beatable against Georgia Tech, and Milroe will certainly have to play his best game, but the blueprint for a potential late push to the Heisman Trophy ceremony is there for Milroe.

    3) Carson Beck | Georgia

    Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (no change)
    Yards: 3,495 | TDs: 22 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 72.4% | YPA: 9.4

    Unfortunately for Alabama fans, the inconsistent Carson Beck showed up against Georgia Tech. That just means it’s all more likely that the consistent and dominant Beck shows up in the SEC Championship Game because, all too often this season, Beck’s inconsistencies have shown up quickly and gone away the next game just as fast.

    Against Tech, Beck threw for 175 yards and just one touchdown, failing to elevate his talent to a clearly overmatched team in the Yellow Jackets. He was inaccurate and slow to make his reads, something we had thought he had improved throughout this season.

    Still, Beck has been dominant for the most part in 2023 and looks every bit the part of the starting quarterback of the best team in the country. Can he put it all back together against Alabama for the SEC Championship?

    4) Jaxson Dart | Ole Miss

    Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (no change)
    Yards: 2,985 | TDs: 20 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 65.4% | YPA: 9.4

    The regular season finale wasn’t the best last impression of Jaxson Dart’s 2023 season, and maybe it’s perfect that he’s set to return in 2024 for the Rebels. Dart completed 14 of 26 passes for just 96 yards with a touchdown, averaging a measly 3.7 yards per attempt.

    However, Dart flashed brilliance all season long prior to the Egg Bowl performance. Dart threw for a career-high 2,985 yards and matched his previous career-high with 20 touchdowns. With a bowl game appearance left, it’s likely he tops that touchdown mark in 2023.

    He flashed that ability to hit every level of the field and do so with a mix of layering, power, and accuracy. Dart’s timing was evident and he wasn’t afraid to throw his receivers open all season long. Putting the ball in places few can, Dart’s return in 2024 means he’ll be on the shortlist for the Heisman Trophy next fall.

    5) Brady Cook | Missouri

    Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (no change)
    Yards: 3,189 | TDs: 20 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 66.6% | YPA: 9.1

    Well, Brady Cook didn’t have to do a whole lot in the regular season finale for the Missouri Tigers, but he still looked every bit like an elite quarterback. Cook threw two touchdowns against Arkansas while his team ran hogwild over the Razorbacks.

    Cook spread the ball around well, as he has done all season long, and even ran for a touchdown against Arkansas following an on-field fight.

    Against the Razorbacks, Cook continued his revelation of a season in 2023. Averaging an incredibly healthy 9.1 yards per attempt, Cook torched defenses this season both downfield and to the intermediate level of the field with great success. He was accurate and on time, flashing brilliance with some of his ball placement.

    He threw for a touchdown in every game this season and had multiple scores in every game besides the Georgia contest. Cook blossomed before our eyes in 2023 and now the question about what his future looks like comes into play. Will he turn to the NFL Draft, or is he going back to Columbia for what could be a record-breaking year in 2024?

    Tier 2: Well-Above-Average SEC QBs

    6) Joe Milton | Tennessee

    Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (+1)
    Yards: 2,813 | TDs: 20 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 64.7% | YPA: 7.9

    Now, that’s how the Tennessee Volunteers should dispatch an inferior opponent, with their speed and immense offensive talent. It felt like Joe Milton could do no wrong against Vanderbilt, throwing for 383 yards and four touchdowns.

    Milton added two rushing scores and really had great command of his game when he was on the field against the Commodores. Unfortunately for Vols fans, that was a bit too inconsistent this season, and it led to just an 8-4 overall record.

    Still, Milton has plenty of talent to be remembered fondly for his time with the program. The Longtime college quarterback had a career year in 2023, throwing for 2,813 yards and 20 touchdowns with a bowl game left to go. His offseason workouts will be must-see TV for any fan of the NFL Draft.

    7) Spencer Rattler | South Carolina

    Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (-1)
    Yards: 3,186 | TDs: 19 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 68.9% | YPA: 8.0

    Top-tier quarterback play in the Palmetto Bowl was not, and Spencer Rattler is a reason for that as much as Clemson’s Cade Klubnik was. The two quarterbacks combined for 212 yards and two interceptions as each quarterback simply struggled.

    It’s still a beautiful thing when Rattler throws the ball on time and with pace. He can fit the football into some incredibly tight windows and he showed that plenty in 2023. If not for his lackluster defense at times, the Gamecocks are likely playing a bowl game this season.

    But, now we look toward the Senior Bowl as our next chance to see Rattler on the field after he accepted his invite ahead of the annual game against Clemson.

    Tier 3: Above-Average SEC QBs

    8) Devin Leary | Kentucky

    Last Week’s Ranking: 13th (+5)
    Yards: 2,440 | TDs: 23 | INT: 10 | Comp. %: 56.3% | YPA: 7.1

    Utilizing an other-worldly performance from Ray Davis, Devin Leary defeated archrival Louisville in the Governor’s Cup in Week 13. Leary threw for three touchdowns and 206 yards, though a lot of the damage was done after the catch by his playmakers.

    Overall, it was a season to forget compared to the expectations we had for Leary coming into Kentucky. Leary threw for 23 touchdowns but made multiple costly mistakes in pivotal moments for the Wildcats.

    However, in the end, it led to a 7-5 record and hope for the program as it was enough to retain their head coach Mark Stoops from what was likely a very tempting offer from Texas A&M, for now, at least.

    9) Will Rogers | Mississippi State

    Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (+1)
    Yards: 1,626 | TDs: 12 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 64.1% | YPA: 6.9

    With a solid showing during his final week of the 2023 season, Will Rogers hit the portal within 12 hours after the Egg Bowl. Rogers had a tumultuous 2023 campaign and wasn’t able to truly showcase his all-around ability under head coach Zach Arnett or interim coach Greg Knox.

    Playing in nine games this season, Rogers toppled 12,000 career passing yards and has 94 career passing touchdowns. Those are all top-50 marks on the college football all-time lists, and he’ll be a coveted player in the portal with his mix of veteran leadership and proven ability to keep offenses on schedule.

    At his best, Rogers can touch every level of the field and has brilliant accuracy and timing. We’ll see if a change of scenery can vault his career back to where he was when 2022 ended and 2023 started.

    Tier 4: Average SEC QBs

    10) Graham Mertz, Max Brown | Florida

    Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (-2)
    Yards: 2,903 | TDs: 20 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 72.9% | YPA: 8.1

    Thanks to their defense, the Florida Gators put a scare into the Florida State Seminoles in the Week 13 rivalry contest. That’s all they did, however, as the Seminoles made correct halftime adjustments and Max Brown and the Gators did not.

    Brown threw for just 86 yards and failed to see coverages, blitz packages, and the field in general in a poor showing. It wasn’t pretty on the other side, but it certainly finished the right way for FSU as opposed to the Gators.

    MORE: Will Rogers Enters the Transfer Portal

    Florida is now on hiatus until the spring, missing a bowl game, and asking what could have been this season. For all the ‘efficient quarterback play’ that Graham Mertz led them to, why didn’t it turn into more victories?

    We’ll handle that discussion for another day but leave the fact that Mertz never got higher than No. 7 in our SEC QB Rankings for a reason.

    11) KJ Jefferson | Arkansas

    Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (-2)
    Yards: 2,107 | TDs: 19 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 64.1% | YPA: 7.1

    Unfortunately for KJ Jefferson, his final regular season game as a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks is marred by an injury sustained on a run play against Missouri. Jefferson was injured following a QB draw that saw him gain a first down but immediately fumble the football in pain.

    The Razorbacks dropped their Battle Line Rivalry game to the Tigers in convincing fashion for Missouri as the Arkansas offense appeared befuddled without Jefferson.

    Jefferson entered the year with such high aspirations and potential next-level dreams. After the way the season went in Fayetteville, some will surely be second-guessing his decision to come back. He was inaccurate for the most part in 2023, at least on most attempts downfield, and far too sporadic when it comes to making the right reads.

    He’s a dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands and one of the harder quarterbacks to bring down in the open field. However, Jefferson must be more accurate and make better decisions in the passing game if he wants to take his talents to the next level.

    12) Jaylen Henderson | Texas A&M

    Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (-1)
    Yards: 704 | TDs: 6 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 67.5% | YPA: 9.1

    Well, Jaylen Henderson certainly made it fun against LSU, even if they came up short. Henderson threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns, taking a lead into the second half before LSU proved their worth.

    After firing head coach Jimbo Fisher, it’s a season of what could have been for the Aggies, yet they have a bowl game left to play. No matter who comes in, players like Henderson are playing for either their jobs next season or to put together some impressive resume-building highlights this December for the Aggies.

    Henderson has done enough in limited reps to at least earn more looks from the new Aggies staff, or somewhere else in the transfer portal.

    13) Payton Thorne | Auburn

    Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (-1)
    Yards: 1,671 | TDs: 15 | INT: 9 | Comp. %: 62.6% | YPA: 7.0

    It was ultimately their undoing and we were never sold on how the quarterback situation was managed at Auburn this season. Payton Thorne faired well at times, proving he was far more athletic than anyone ever gave him credit for.

    However, the Tigers struggled when he was forced to win the game with his arm. Against Alabama, he threw two costly turnovers (sure, one was the final heave in desperation from his own 1-yard line) and failed to make anything happen with his arm on a consistent basis all throughout the outing.

    Thorne fared much better in the confines of the Big Ten with his arm talent and that should worry Auburn fans going forward as he likely returns to the program in 2024. A bowl game performance left, Thorne has a lot left to prove.

    Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done SEC QBs

    14) Ken Seals, AJ Swann | Vanderbilt

    Last Week’s Ranking: 14th (no change)
    Yards: 1,457 | TDs: 12 | INT: 7 | Comp. %: 54.6% | YPA: 7.4

    Once again, we’ll say it, AJ Swann gave the Vanderbilt Commodores the best chance to win any game in 2023. Sadly, Swann hardly got to see the field without pressure immediately in his face and he missed significant time with injury.

    When he was healthy, Swann was considered a top 10 SEC quarterback without question. A gunslinger by nature, Swann forced throws at times but could put the football into enough tight windows to elevate his talent and allow his playmakers to make plays on the ball.

    Ken Seals struggled to play anything like Swann, and the Commodores’ revolving door at quarterback did them no favors this season. It’s a hard pill to swallow whenever you go winless in conference play, but there was enough to work on and look forward to with Swann returning, hopefully, healthy in 2024.

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