The leaders of the pack have separated themselves as Jordan Travis and Drake Maye have led their teams to undefeated starts in 2023. Can anyone close in on the FSU and UNC stars or is the ACC QB Rankings set to be a two-horse race all year long?
Our weekly iteration of our 2023 ACC QB Rankings is here, taking a look at where they stack up through seven weeks of the season.
2023 ACC QB Rankings
As with all of our conference rankings and our national quarterback evaluations, the ACC 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-ACC Team and Midseason All-Americans this past week.
Tier 1: The Elite ACC QBs
1) Drake Maye | North Carolina
Last Week’s Ranking: 1st (no change)
Yards: 1,902 | TDs: 12 | INT: 4 | Comp. %: 68.9% | YPA: 9.0
The cream of the crop has risen above the rest and Drake Maye, paired with Jordan Travis, have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the ACC QBs. Maye is fresh off back-to-back multi-touchdown games, throwing seven touchdowns in his last two ACC starts.
He’s seeing the field brilliantly and distributing the ball effectively to all levels of the field. Scary enough as is, getting Devontez Walker in the lineup has helped his average depth of target and his overall ability, as he has a reliable No. 1 receiver who can create natural separation.
We don’t get a regular-season matchup between FSU and UNC, but the way things are heading right now, we’ll see these two play one another in the ACC Championship.
2) Jordan Travis | Florida State
Last Week’s Ranking: 2nd (no change)
Yards: 1,482 | TDs: 13 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 63.2% | YPA: 8.1
There isn’t much more to say about Jordan Travis at this point. He’s as gritty as they come, he wills this FSU team to victory after victory, and he’s a bonafide star. Travis once again battled through a rough hit that saw him visibly shaken up to 284 yards and three total touchdowns against Syracuse.
The best part about Travis’ performance in Week 7 was his poised presence in the pocket, reading his progressions, freezing safeties with his vision, and dropping accurate downfield passes almost at will. FSU has scored 31 points in every game this season and Travis is certainly the reason why.
Tier 2: Well-Above-Average ACC QBs
3 Tyler Van Dyke | Miami
Last Week’s Ranking: 4th (+1)
Yards: 1,721 | TDs: 16 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 70.5% | YPA: 9.4
There’s a certain gunslinger mentality, it appears, for Tyler Van Dyke over the past two weeks of action. He’s pushing the ball downfield, squeezing throws into tight windows like it was 2021 all over again, but he’s also misread some coverages and trusted his arm too much.
It’s led to five touchdowns and five interceptions over the past two games for Van Dyke and back-to-back losses (though, can we really count the loss to GATC against Van Dyke? The answer is no.). Still, Van Dyke must get back and stay in rhythm as the season progresses because it doesn’t get much easier down the stretch with Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville still left to play.
Tier 3: Above-Average ACC QBs
4) Riley Leonard | Duke
Last Week’s Ranking: 3rd (-1)
Yards: 912 | TDs: 3 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 62.7% | YPA: 7.2
The Duke Blue Devils didn’t need Henry Berlin IV to do much in Week 7, riding an impressive defensive performance to victory. And that was a good thing as he had just four completions (sure, they went for two touchdowns) and was largely inconsistent in doing so.
For the Blue Devils the rest of the way this season, they’ll need Riley Leonard to return, and return healthy, where he can use his legs and his processing ability. We’ll cautiously leave them here, at fourth in the ACC QB Rankings, as we wait and see what happens.
5) Cade Klubnik | Clemson
Last Week’s Ranking: 6th (+1)
Yards: 1,370 | TDs: 11 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 65.2% | YPA: 6.5
For all the talk about how talented the Clemson offense could be this season, they’ve really taken a step back, dropping two games and looking downright flat against Power Five competition. Yet, like his predecessor, there is no denying the talent that Cade Klubnik has.
When he gets a chance to open up the playbook, Klubnik has been sound. It’s just the middle of the field, short-area attack that needs some consistent work for him to be able to do so.
6) Jack Plummer | Louisville
Last Week’s Ranking: 5th (-1)
Yards: 1,901 | TDs: 13 | INT: 8 | Comp. %: 63.5% | YPA: 9.1
For most schools, there is no way to avoid a trap game and that’s exactly what happened to Louisville in Week 7. Jack Plummer struggled mightily against Pittsburgh, as did the whole team, and their undefeated season was washed away in the rain.
Plummer, though, had largely cut down on the mistakes and was seeing the field brilliantly. Getting back to what made this offense so successful in the early third of the season will be key. That was Plummer getting the ball out quickly and lulling the defenses to sleep before hitting his receivers on in-breaking routes for max yards after the catch.
7) Garrett Shrader | Syracuse
Last Week’s Ranking: 7th (no change)
Yards: 1,371 | TDs: 8 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 62.0% | YPA: 7.7
For Syracuse and Garrett Shrader, it’s safe to say the road doesn’t get any tougher than their last three-game stretch. With games at home versus Clemson and on the road in back-to-back weeks against UNC and FSU, Shrader has been bottled up and beat up.
Shrader exited the game against the Seminoles in favor of Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and the duo struggled, overall. It appears that Shrader will return after the team’s Week 8 bye week after he was removed from the lineup with food poisoning against FSU.
MORE: Garrett Shrader Injury Update Following His Removal Against FSU
The road gets a bit easier down the stretch for ‘Cuse, but they’ll have to improve in all facets on offense to compete in the ACC this year.
8) Haynes King | Georgia Tech
Last Week’s Ranking: 8th (no change)
Yards: 1,631 | TDs: 16 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 62.3% | YPA: 8.5
With a week off to rest and recover after their furious finish against Miami, Haynes King and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are still a difficult team to read. King, however, has been solid all year long.
He’s given this Jackets team something to build on with his intermediate passing as he’s found their talented skill players in space plenty. Though King’s missed some throws here and there, he’s breathed life into the team when it’s needed it.
Playing more to his strengths — his accuracy and timing — are key to this team continuing to grow.
Tier 4: Average ACC QBs
9) Thomas Castellanos | Boston College
Last Week’s Ranking: 10th (+1)
Yards: 1,143 | TDs: 10 | INT: 5 | Comp. %: 57.2% | YPA: 7.5
A week off in Week 7 sees Boston College get healthier following a rain-soaked victory in Week 6. Thomas Castellanos is as dynamic as they come, and though the passing statistics don’t quite show it, he’s still growing as a passer.
Improving his accuracy to every level of the field is the next step, but until then, Castellanos can rely on his legs and off-script ability. He’s accounted for 17 total touchdowns including seven on the ground so far this season.
10) Kyron Drones | Virginia Tech
Last Week’s Ranking: 11th (+1)
Yards: 1,042 | TDs: 6 | INT: 1 | Comp. %: 58.0% | YPA: 6.9
Finally, the Virginia Tech offense got moving in Week 7. Kyron Drones passed the 1,000-yard mark with a 321-yard performance against a hapless Wake Forest defense. And he did so by targeting his playmakers on time and in space.
It was a good example of how potent this Hokie passing attack could be as Jaylin Lane and Stephen Gosnell each showed promise in different ways. Distributing the ball effectively opened up the rushing game for Drones and this offense was better for it.
11) Mitch Griffis, Michael Kern | Wake Forest
Last Week’s Ranking: 9th (-2)
Yards: 1,211 | TDs: 9 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 59.2% | YPA: 7.2
What to do in Winston-Salem, what to do indeed. Mitch Griffis has been fielding questions around his ability to lead the offense since their loss to Clemson and things reached a fever-pitch against Virginia Tech.
Griffis was pulled after what head coach Dave Clawson called “where he just wasn’t executing the offense.” Michael Kern entered the lineup and the offense didn’t score a touchdown either way.
This offense can be a QB-friendly one if run correctly by the correct QB. Currently, however, it appears Wake Forest may not have the correct QB on the roster.
Tier 5: Work-To-Be-Done ACC QBs
12) Christian Veilleux, Phil Jurkovec | Pittsburgh
Last Week’s Ranking: 14th (+2)
Yards: 345 | TDs: 3 | INT: 2 | Comp. %: 45.3% | YPA: 6.5
We’re keeping Phil Jurkovec’s name on here even though it largely appears to be Christian Veilleux’s job going forward. Jurkovec, the season’s starter to this point, has likely played his last game as a quarterback for Pittsburgh after Veilleux led the Panthers to a win over previously undefeated Louisville.
We’ll remain cautiously optimistic that Veilleux’s best football is still to come after he showed some flashes of talent in the victory. Still, he left some throws on the table and did appear rattled at times. His throw to Konata Mumpfield was the best of the night as he dropped in a bucket shot downfield with accuracy and touch.
More of that downfield precision will move the Panthers up in the ACC QB Rankings and in the win column easily enough.
13) Tony Muskett, Anthony Colandrea | Virginia
Last Week’s Ranking: 12th (-1)
Yards: 923 | TDs: 5 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 61.8% | YPA: 9.0
The Virginia Cavaliers were off in Week 7, so we look back to their last performance to indicate what they might bring to the table going forward. Tony Muskett was very effective against William & Mary, throwing for 232 yards and two scores while rushing for another. But it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the final score would indicate.
The same errors that have cost them dearly in 2023 showed up in small amounts against the Tribe. The offensive line has struggled to protect for too long and the quarterbacks have failed to get the ball out on time for the most part. Muskett offers the most protection, while Anthony Colandrea offers a gunslinging mentality.
Which way they go moving on in their ACC schedule will be telling.
14) MJ Morris, Brennan Armstrong | NC State
Last Week’s Ranking: 13th (-1)
Yards: 971 | TDs: 5 | INT: 6 | Comp. %: 58.8% | YPA: 6.1
The move to MJ Morris was supposed to spark the NC State offense, but against Duke in Week 7, that was hardly the case. The Wolfpack were held to just three points and were kept off schedule by the Blue Devils’ all-encompassing pass-rush and coverage unit.
Morris has thrown four interceptions in just two starts this year and the going gets tougher when they return in Week 9 against Clemson. The bye week in Week 8 is much-needed.