Dillon Gabriel and Quinn Ewers have separated themselves from the pack in our Big 12 QB Rankings. Gabriel, who has a Heisman moment already locked up, leads the group but if TCU QB Josh Hoover plays like he did in his debut, Gabriel and Ewers will be joined by a Horned Frog at the top.
Our weekly iteration of our 2023 Big 12 QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through seven weeks of the season.
2023 Big 12 QB Rankings
As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the Big 12 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-Big 12 Team and Midseason All-Americans this week.
Tier 1: Elite Big 12 QBs
1) Dillon Gabriel | Oklahoma
Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
Yards: 1,878 | TDs: 16 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 72.3% | YPA: 9.6
The Oklahoma Sooners and QB Dillon Gabriel had an off week in Week 7 to relish in their victory over arch-rival Texas. Gabriel’s fresh off the victory that propelled him well into the Heisman Trophy consideration and he’s one of now two quarterbacks with a Heisman moment after Michael Penix joined him in Week 7.
Gabriel has carved up opposing defenses this season and leads the Big 12 in passing yards despite not playing a full game in seemingly the entire first half of their schedule, save for against Texas. He’s one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, hands down, and arguably the best deep ball thrower with his pinpoint accuracy and strength.
The sky is the limit for Oklahoma with how well Gabriel is playing.
2) Quinn Ewers | Texas
Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
Yards: 1,704 | TDs: 11 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 69.6% | YPA: 9.3
A week off to lick their wounds, Quinn Ewers and Texas went back to the drawing board in Week 7 on their bye week. Ewers has amazed this season and did even in the loss to Oklahoma, save for a few minor errors in judgment.
He’s got all the requisite skills to take Texas back to the top of the national rankings but there are set to be a few bumps along the way. Continuing to find his receivers open in space down the field is paramount to all but his continued consistency over the middle of the field and in crucial situations.
It’s likely that Ewers gets a revenge game against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game and the Playoffs are not out of the picture with that in mind.
Tier 2: Well-Above-Average Big 12 QBs
With a large drop-off from the top two, we’ve not included any situation in our well-above-average tier until we’ve seen enough from the group below. Jalon Daniels’ absence drops them out of this group, while the remaining situations have yet to showcase any consistency at this level.
Tier 3: Above-Average Big 12 QBs
3) Chandler Morris (Josh Hoover) | TCU
Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (+5)
Yards: 1,513 | TDs: 12 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 65.8% | YPA: 7.6
The incredible level of play Josh Hoover showcased in Week 7 against BYU was eye-opening. Perhaps there is a QB debate brewing in Fort Worth because of how good Hoover was in replacement of season-starter Chandler Morris.
Hoover performed far better than anyone could have expected against BYU, looking defenders off with his vision and snapping accurate throws everywhere on the field. It was the type of performance that sets the bar incredibly high for the TCU offense going forward, and may make it difficult for Morris to crack back into the lineup once healthy.
Do yourself a favor, go back and rewatch that Hoover performance in Week 7.
4) Blake Shapen | Baylor
Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (no change)
Yards: 920 | TDs: 4 | INT: 0 | Comp. %: 62.1% | YPA: 8.9
The Baylor Bears have split the last two starts from Blake Shapen, but the loss to Texas Tech is hardly their quarterback’s fault. Shapen has battled through injury and gives the Bears a clear identity on offense, even if their offensive line struggled to protect against TTU.
Back after a bye week in Week 7, Shapen and Baylor can focus on getting the ball to the perimeter and their playmakers in space. Shortening his release and quickening the time he lasts in the pocket will ultimately lead to better decisions and easier completions. That should be the emphasis on this offense moving forward.
5) Jalon Daniels, Jason Bean | Kansas
Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (+1)
Yards: 705 | TDs: 5 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 74.7% | YPA: 9.4
Jason Bean nearly played the game of his life in Week 7, throwing for 410 yards with five touchdowns but two costly interceptions. Those turnovers ultimately did in bean in a loss to Oklahoma State but he surely showed enough to give Kansas fans some hope as the season goes along.
Bean’s elongated throwing motion can get him in trouble on quick decisions and it showed against Kansas. When he has time to set his feet and read the field, he’s as powerful a thrower as anyone in the nation.
Jalon Daniels gives them a more complete quarterback, but Bean has been impressive enough in relief this year.
6) Alan Bowman | Oklahoma State
Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (+4)
Yards: 748 | TDs: 2 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 53.3% | YPA: 5.5
We figured the quarterback situation would get worked out at some point in Stillwater, we didn’t expect it to drag that long into the season nor resolve it self so quickly once the answer was there. That answer is Alan Bowman, the longtime college football quarterback, and his quick decision-making and accuracy that have returned.
As wild as it sounds, his best football was back in 2018, but we may be scratching that arena soon if he keeps playing the way he is recently. Bowman is 2-1 since taking over as the full-time starter and let’s face it, that Iowa State performance looks more like an anomaly from the whole team at this rate.
Bowman threw for 336 yards nad two scores against Kansas, defeating the Jayhawks in fabulous fashion. If he continues to be quick with his reads and decisive with his throws, Bowman can make this Oklahoma State team a surprise for their opponents in each game remaining.
Tier 4: Average Big 12 QBs
7) Donovan Smith | Houston
Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (+5)
Yards: 1,348 | TDs: 9 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 64.6% | YPA: 7.0
Like some other boom-or-bust quarterbacks across the country, Donovan Smith giveth as much as he taketh away. In Week 7, Smith giveth to his receivers and threw for four touchdowns with another score on the ground in a terrific game against West Virginia.
He also giveth the world a treat in the form of his Hail Mary toss that won the game in dramatic fashion over WVU.
Smith has thrown four touchdowns in two straight games and has cut the turnovers in half since Sam Houston in Week 4. We’ll remain bullish that he can keep up this level of play, but after years of watching Smith, we know that consistency has always been his biggest issue.
8) Will Howard, Avery Johnson | Kansas State
Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (-3)
Yards: 1,224 | TDs: 9 | INT: 7 | Comp. %: 61.3% | YPA: 7.1
As terrific as Avery Johnson was in relief of Will Howard, it’s clear that he was a bit limited as a passer and the offense changed dramatically with him in the fray. Still, head coach Chris Klieman has said he feels he can win with both quarterbacks at the helm, but we know that defensive coordinators will certainly have enough film on Johnson’s success on the ground to study and potentially limit him.
We’ll remain confident that Klieman knows what he’s doing by potentially playing both quarterbacks in Week 8 against TCU, and we’ll figure much more out as this situation unfolds on game day.
9) John Rhys Plumlee, Timmy McClain | UCF
Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (no change)
Yards: 1,008 | TDs: 9 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 63.9% | YPA: 10.4
It’s been a tough road for the UCF Knights in their first season as a member of the Big 12. John Rhys Plumlee played well before an injury, and Timmy McClain has certainly shown flashes of potential brilliance with his downfield accuracy.
However, it’s been inconsistent short-area passes that have plagued McClain and the Knights and their inability to keep the chains moving in crucial spots has led to three straight defeats.
Plumlee tried to give it a go in Week 6, but he was clearly hampered enough to yield way to McClain once again. With a bye week since then, it remains to be seen who is the signal-caller down the stretch for the Knights.
10) Kedon Slovis | BYU
Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (-7)
Yards: 1,240 | TDs: 10 | INT: 3 | Comp. %: 59.4% | YPA: 7.5
What a disaster it was for the BYU Cougars in Week 7. We know Kedon Slovis has the arm talent to push for a top spot in the conference — we even had him at No. 3 last week amid questions across the board — but it was a downright ugly performance against a TCU defense that had been torched at times this year.
Hopefully, for BYU fans and college football fans alike, that was a one-off situation for Slovis as he was consistently pressured into errant decisions and seemed off with his timing with his receivers. He takes a tumble in our Big 12 QB Rankings — mainly because of this performance — but also because of answers, consistency, and a surge in solid QB play from he rest of the league’s signal-callers.
11) Garrett Greene | West Virginia
Last Week’s Ranking: 13th (+2)
Yards: 544 | TDs: 4 | INT: 0 | Comp. %: 52.9% | YPA: 8.0
What a gamer Garrett Greene has been for West Virginia this season. You can say he’s been limited as a passer but we finally got to see him at his best in terms of downfield accuracy and decision-making on a Thursday night showcase game against Houston.
Sure, it didn’t go his way, but that was hardly his fault thanks to a Hail Mary from the Cougars, and Greene did enough to impress us with his final-minute drive to take the lead in this one. He’s growing in front of our eyes and maybe his best football is yet to come.
Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done Big 12 QBs
12) Behren Morton | Texas Tech
Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (-5)
Yards: 571 | TDs: 8 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 55.1% | YPA: 5.8
The injury to Tyler Shough forced Behren Morton back into the lineup for the second season in a row, but unlike last year’s success, Morton has been erratic and inconsistent from the jump. He came in in relief of Shough in a loss to WVU before winning two straight over lackluster defenses in Houston and Baylor.
Morton wasn’t all to blame for their loss to Kansas State but he certainly deserves his fair share. He’s been inaccurate to every level of the field and hasn’t even tested the deep waters it feels like in two games. Getting back to basics, making his correct reads on time, and delivering more than dumping passes off in the short area of the field will remain crucial for this offense.
13) Rocco Becht | Iowa State
Last Week’s Ranking: 14th (+1)
Yards: 1,223 | TDs: 10 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 60.0% | YPA: 6.8
The Iowa State Cyclones moved to 2-0 over their past two games with strong defensive performances and error-free play from their quarterback. Rocco Becht is starting to see the field much better and has delivered some strong passes to his receivers in space.
Finding his receivers in space will do wonders for your statistical showing and keeping your offense on schedule. More of that and we’ll certainly see Becht move up these rankings.
14) Emory Jones | Cincinnati
Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (-3)
Yards: 1,226 | TDs: 10 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 62.1% | YPA: 7.6
For the third time in four outings, Emory Jones has thrown multiple interceptions. In Week 7, he threw two picks against Iowa State and the Cincinnati offense struggled to find any ground to move on.
Jones’ success to start the year is now a distant memory as the Bearcats have lost four straight and scored just 43 points in their last three. His accuracy past 10 yards has gone by the wayside and this Cincinnati offense has to be looking for a spark to change things at this point.