It’s Michael Pratt and Frank Harris that have separated themselves from the pack in our AAC QB Rankings, but don’t look now as Chandler Rogers and the North Texas Mean Green are on their heels.
Our weekly iteration of our 2023 AAC QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through seven weeks of the season.
2023 AAC QB Rankings
As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the American Athletic 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.
All QB Rankings: 1-133 | ACC | B1G | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | AAC | C-USA | MAC | MWC | Sun Belt | FBS Ind.
Reminder – we also released our Midseason All-AAC Team and Midseason All-Americans this week.
Tier 1: The Elite AAC QBs
1) Michael Pratt | Tulane
Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
Yards: 927 | TDs: 9 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 70.7% | YPA: 10.1
Though it wasn’t his finest performance against Memphis in Week 7, Michael Pratt once again proved he’s the top quarterback in the conference with a third-straight victory in his return. He’s been sharp with the football all season long, and especially since his return to the field following the season-opening victory over South Alabama.
There isn’t a level of the field Pratt can’t hit nor a throw he can’t make. Pratt has began trusting his arm and knowing when to force throws as well as when to take something off them. He can layer shots over defenders all the same as he can push them through tight windows.
Pratt will hold this top spot until proven otherwise.
2) Frank Harris | UTSA
Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
Yards: 932 | TDs: 7 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 64.7% | YPA: 6.9
Since Frank Harris returned to the lineup, the UTSA Roadrunners have looked more and more like the team pegged to contend for the AAC this preseason. Harris has the Roadrunners humming and is a mere fourth-down conversion away from a 4-0 record as the team’s starter this season.
He’s proven that he can give this offense exactly what they need, when they need it, and he’s not afraid to force the issue or take the checkdown this season. A veteran of the sport, the Roadrunners schedule has winnable games the rest of the way through to their season finale against Tulane, as long as Harris continues playing the way he is now.
Tier 2: Well-Above-Average AAC QBs
3) Chandler Rogers | North Texas
Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (+3)
Yards: 1,419 | TDs: 12 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 63.9% | YPA: 8.4
We’ve almost seen enough to bump Chandler Rogers into the elite tier of our AAC QB Rankings. Almost. Since taking over as the starter in the Louisiana Tech game back in Week 3, the North Texas Mean Green have been a formidable offensive attack.
Rogers has led them to a 3-1 record in those starts and had it not been for a letdown from their offensive line against Navy, they would be sitting pretty with an unblemished AAC mark. He’s sparked the offense. throwing for 10 touchdowns in his four starts (12 all together) and is starting to catch steam with his downfield passing.
This Mean Green offense is a scary unit to face for any opponent going forward.
4) Seth Henigan | Memphis
Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (-1)
Yards: 1,697 | TDs: 13 | INT: 7 | Comp. %: 66.1% | YPA: 7.8
For all those who said Seth Henigan was on Michael Pratt’s level, their Friday night primetime faceoff did little to support the claim. Still, Henigan did flash what makes him a potential special quarterback against Tulane with his ability to stand tall in the pocket and deliver accurate shots despite pressure and small windows.
Henigan can sling it all over the field. He’s accurate to each level, but at times, his decision-making doesn’t follow suit with his arm talent. That can lead to trouble more often than not, and as it stands right now, this Memphis team is not prepared to overcome too many mistakes from their passing game despite Blake Watson’s terrific season.
Tier 3: Above-Average AAC QBs
5) JT Daniels | Rice
Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (-1)
Yards: 1,831 | TDs: 15 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 63.6% | YPA: 8.9
The Rice Owls were off in Week 7, giving them time to figure out what went wrong against UConn in Week 6 in the process. JT Daniels threw for 362 yards and two scores, but a costly interception and consistent pressure from the Huskies’ defensive front proved too much to overcome.
Still, Daniels has been on fire since a double-ovettime victory over Houston. He’s thrown at least three touchdowns in three games this year and over 400 yards twice. The connection with Daniels to Luke McCaffrey is one of the nation’s top QB-WR combinations, no questions asked.
Decision-making and playing outside of the structure of the offense can be improved, however.
6) Preston Stone | SMU
Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (+2)
Yards: 1,467 | TDs: 14 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 57.1% | YPA: 7.4
The SMU Mustangs put up valiant fights against their Power Five opponents to start their schedule, and now that Preston Stone is into AAC play, he’s showcasing why he’s the right choice to lead this team. Despite a boundary-pushing short-area passing attack, we’ve still seen Stone put some extra mustard on his throws this season to the deep portion and looks good when doing so.
Stone doesn’t possess the strongest arm in the conference, but he certainly maintains an ability to torch defenses with his ability to extend plays and keep his vision downfield. He has uncanny accuracy when he’s at the top of his game, and he may be rounding into form at the right time this year.
Tier 4: Average AAC QBs
7) Jacob Zeno | UAB
Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (+2)
Yards: 1,905 | TDs: 12 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 74.4% | YPA: 7.5
Jacob Zeno leads the American Athletic Conference in passing yards despite an incredibly low average depth of target. He’s getting a ton of help from his receivers in space and the offensive scheme certainly doesn’t pit to the strength of his game.
Zeno has great arm strength and solid accuracy on downfield shots, but he’s hardly been asked to push the ball deep. It’s caught up to this Blazers team this season as they’re not built to come from behind.
Against man coverage heavy defenses, you’d hope the staff would trust Zeno to make some downfield throws against single coverage, but they’ve yet to release that.
8) Cardell Williams | Tulsa
Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (+2)
Yards: 955 | TDs: 8 | INT: 7 | Comp. %: 60.8% | YPA: 9.4
On a bye week in Week 7, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane spent time licking their wounds after a close defeat to FAU in Week 6. Cardell Williams threw two costly interceptions and the offense was held mainly in check by FAU’s secondary.
Williams has had his moments in 2023, flashing with his ability to spot receivers quickly and deliver accurate passes. But the consistency hasn’t been there, not from game to game, nor from down to down. There’s talent here to unlock, and it should come in time.
9) Daniel Richardson | FAU
Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (+3)
Yards: 902 | TDs: 5 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 65.1% | YPA: 6.1
Was this finally the Daniel Richardson we remember from his time at Central Michigan? Richardson threw three touchdowns and was downright dominant with his decisions, accuracy, and ball placement against USF in Week 7.
The former Chippewa took some time to get acclimated to starting for the Owls, after being thrust into the lineup following Casey Thompson’s ACL injury, but it looks like the corner has been turned. Richardson was accurate and decisive. His arm talent was apparent and he added something with his pocket presence.
If this kind of performance continues, the Owls could certainly force some issues in the AAC this season with their defense.
10) Byrum Brown | USF
Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (-3)
Yards: 1,662 | TDs: 12 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 59.6% | YPA: 7.3
There is a lot of good in Byrum Brown’s game, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of potential for boom, or big plays. But there’s equal potential to stay out of rhythm and struggle to find consistency in looking for those big plays.
Against FAU in Week 7, Brown found some shots but largely fell to the inconsistent side in terms of keeping the chains moving for the USF offense. Brown is a dynamic quarterback and it appears he’s the right choice to lead USF as they continue to figure things out under Alex Golesh, but consistency and understanding when to play another down will be pivotal.
Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done AAC QBs
11) E.J. Warner | Temple
Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (-6)
Yards: 1,741 | TDs: 12 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 56.5% | YPA: 6.4
We’ve dropped E.J. Warner and the Temple quarterback situation a few spots because of the lack of depth behind Warner and their lack of success this season even at the top. Warner was a late scratch against North Texas in Week 7 and Quincy Patterson was completely ineffective as a passer in relief.
Warner has shown he can be a gamer this year, battling through multiple hits and quick pressures against UTSA back in Week 6 to the tune of five touchdowns and a whopping 65 pass attempts. However, his unavailability in Week 7 gives concerns for his longevity this year as he was only sacked once (though he did take plenty of hits against UTSA) and missed the week of practice the game against the Mean Green.
Patterson isn’t a reliable backup option, and even at his best this season, Warner has led his team to just a single victory over FBS competition this year. It’s an abysmal season compared to preseason expectations as it’s started to unravel for the Owls.
12) Mason Garcia, Alex Flinn | ECU
Last Week’s Ranking: 13th (+1)
Yards: 649 | TDs: 1 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 48.8% | YPA: 5.2
It appears that we’re going to continue to get the two-quarterback situation from ECU this season as Mason Garcia and Alex Flinn have split reps in essentially all but one game this year. Flinn must have shown in practice that he’s the more capable passer, yet he’s not shown that in any game reps to date.
Garcia actually fared better than Flinn against SMU on a Thursday night Week 7 matchup, but it was far too little, too late, against the Mustangs. It’s a confounding situation as this offense just doesn’t want to even attempt to push the ball down the field despite some weapons and some success they’ve seen in doing so.
The schedule doesn’t get much easier down the stretch with conference powers Tulane and UTSA scheduled as two of their next three opponents.
13) Tai Lavatai, Braxton Woodson | Navy
Last Week’s Ranking: 14th (+1)
Yards: 426 | TDs: 3 | INT: 0 | Comp. %: 51.9% | YPA: 8.2
The Navy offense did what they needed to do against Charlotte in Week 7, controlling the ball and dictating the pace of play. Braxton Woodson showed enough as a leader on offense to warrant perhaps another look after he took over for an injured Tai Lavatai.
Woodson ran the ball 18 times for 58 yards and took care of the ball in their option attack well enough. The passing game for Navy will continue to be nonexistent it appears, however, and they’ll have to rely their defense and on more sharp decisions from their QBs reading their keys and holding on to the football at the right time to be successful in 2023.
14) Jalon Jones, Trexler Ivey | Charlotte
Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (-3)
Yards: 601 | TDs: 2 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 57.0% | YPA: 7.0
What an abhorent showing it was for the Charlotte passing attack against Navy in Week 7. Trexler Ivey threw two interceptions, on ill-fated decisions, and the Midshipmen continually confused the 49ers’ passing game all afternoon long.
In his first start of the season, Ivey largely disappointed and it’s not clear whether this situation is fluid, locked in stone, or even going to get any better going forward. Ivey had a sound performance back against Georgia State, so we know there’s talent there, but the game seems to be moving too fast for him lately.