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Greg McElroy ranks top 10 quarterbacks in college football for 2024

FaceProfileby:Thomas Goldkamp06/07/24

As the 2024 season fast approaches, the thing that many college football analysts are looking to when making their preseason prognostications is leadership. Who has a quarterback that can guide them to the College Football Playoff?

There are plenty of quality options. ESPN’s Greg McElroy took some time on the Always College Football podcast to break down some of the best quarterbacks in the country in 2024.

Here’s who McElroy has as the top 10 quarterbacks in the nation headed into the fall.

1. Carson Beck, Georgia

Carson Beck Georgia
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Beck made the transition after Stetson Bennett departed as seamless as humanly possible, slowly easing his way into the role before opening things up as a passer more later in the 2023 campaign. By year’s end, though, he was truly playing excellent football.

The 6-foot-4 junior threw for 3,941 yards and 24 touchdowns, against just six interceptions. He even ran for three scores, showing he could get things done in a variety of ways when needed. Expect him to keep Georgia humming right along this season.

2. Quinn Ewers, Texas

Quinn Ewers (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

Ewers was on a similarly successful team as Beck in 2023, though he actually made the College Football Playoff while Beck was kept out due to an SEC Championship Game loss. The Texas quarterback will once again have his sights set on the postseason, particularly with an expanded playoff field.

The production from Ewers was quite good last year. He threw for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns, while throwing just six interceptions. He also ran for five scores. Oh, and he’s on the cover of EA Sports College Football 25.

3. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado

Shedeur Sanders, Colorado
Shedeur Sanders, Colorado – © James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

There are mixed opinions on Sanders in various corners of the sports world, but McElroy is quite high on the Colorado prospect. He attributes much of Sanders’ struggles in 2023 to a shoddy offensive line that allowed him to get sacked more than 50 times. If that gets cleaned up, he could see a significant spike in production.

Make no mistake about it, Sanders did seem to wear down as the season went on. After throwing for at least four touchdowns in four of his first seven games, he failed to throw for more than two in any of his last four games. His completion percentage also began to dip into the low 60s from the high 60s and low 70s. Bottom line: Sanders needs to be kept on his feet in 2024.

4. Dillon Gabriel, Oregon

Dillon Gabriel, Oregon
Dillon Gabriel, Oregon – © Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the biggest transfers in the offseason, Gabriel went from Oklahoma to Oregon, where he’ll become the successor to Bo Nix. And the two have some real similarities to their game, so the Ducks should be able to pick up pretty much right where they left off last fall.

If Gabriel can replicate his Oklahoma production, Oregon might just be a playoff team in 2024. Gabriel threw for 3,660 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions, while also rushing for 373 yards and 12 scores. Productive.

5. Jalen Milroe, Alabama

Jalen Milroe, Alabama
Jalen Milroe, Alabama – © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Few quarterbacks had as interesting a 2023 season as Milroe did. He went from starting for Alabama to benched after just two games, back to starting. And when he returned to the starting role he really seemed to turn a corner.

Milroe has elite dual-threat capability, something he showcased routinely on Alabama’s run to the College Football Playoff. He finished the season with 2,834 yards passing and 23 touchdowns, against just six interceptions. But he also ran for 531 yards and 12 touchdowns.

6. Cam Rising, Utah

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Rising watched the entire 2023 campaign from the sidelines, recovering from a season-ending injury he suffered late in 2022. He could have potentially returned late for the Utes, but they played it safe to ensure he’d be fully ready to roll when he eventually did step back under center.

A gritty quarterback who plays extremely hard, Rising threw for 3,034 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2022. He threw only eight interceptions. Meanwhile, he also ran for 465 yards and six scores. Rising can use his feet to deal damage when he wants.

7. Cam Ward, Miami

Cam Ward-Miami
(photo by Neil Gershman)

Another transfer quarterback on the list, Ward has gone from Washington State to Miami where he’ll instantly step in as the starter for Mario Cristobal and company. The Hurricanes are hoping he can stabilize things and provide some excellent veteran leadership and so far the early returns have been quite positive.

Ward has elite dual-threat ability, though he’s choosy about when he opts to show it. Still, he rushed for 13 touchdowns in two seasons with the Cougars. Ward also threw for 3,735 yards and 25 touchdowns passing, versus just seven interceptions.

8. Noah Fifita, Arizona

Arizona QB Noah Fifita
© Gary A. Vasquez | USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona quarterback didn’t start the season for the Wildcats but he sure finished it as the starter. Fifita was excellent through and through, finishing the year with six straight games with multiple touchdown passes. He wasn’t much of a runner, but he was a very dangerous thrower.

Fifita had a 72.4% completion percentage on the year, showing remarkable accuracy. He finished with 2,869 passing yards and 25 touchdowns, despite playing sparingly in the first three contests. He finished the year with just six interceptions.

9. Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss has playoff aspirations in 2024 and one of the main reasons is that Dart has proven to be a very capable quarterback. Consistency could still improve a touch, but he’s a dangerous passer and an overall strong decision-maker, plus he can hurt you with his legs.

Dart ran for 391 yards and eight scores, one year after rushing for 614 yards. He also threw for a career-best 3,364 yards and 23 touchdowns, versus just five interceptions, so he played relatively safe and smart football.

10. Jalon Daniels, Kansas

(Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Health, health, health. That’s the real key for Daniels, who has not made it through either of the last two seasons fully healthy. If he can stay healthy he’s one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.

Daniels stats, because of the injuries, don’t necessarily reflect what kind of quarterback he is. He has thrown for 2,719 yards and 23 touchdowns the last two years, while also rushing for 493 yards and seven scores.

There you have it, the 10 quarterbacks that Greg McElroy feels are the best heading into the 2024 season. A bunch of quality options, though time will tell whether the ranking holds up. In any case, it’s another fun look at some of college football’s best before the season begins.