Ranking The Opposing Quarterbacks BYU Football Will Face In 2023

Jul 19, 2023, 11:47 AM

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is well-versed in the role a quarterback plays for a team. When you forecast success for a potential college football team, many people look at the strength of the schedule and the talent at quarterback.

BYU feels good about where they stand with its quarterback situation, inserting former USC and Pitt signal-caller Kedon Slovis from the transfer portal. But what about BYU’s opponents?

Aside from one team, it will be a bunch of new faces that BYU has never faced. That’s because BYU is entering its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference.

BYU football will have three nonconference tilts before they get to conference action on September 23 against Kansas. One of those is against Arkansas star KJ Jefferson. Jefferson had a career day against BYU’s defense last season, throwing for a career-best five touchdowns and 367 yards.

First-year BYU football defensive coordinator Jay Hill will be tasked with putting together game plans that stifle the 12 opposing quarterbacks the Cougars face this season.

Ranking the opposing Quarterbacks BYU football will face

To further detail who those quarterbacks are that BYU will face, here’s a ranking of all 12 projected signal-callers.

12. Keegan Shoemaker – Sam Houston

September 2 in Provo


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Shoemaker is entering his fourth season with the Bearkats—a former Lafayette quarterback out of high school. Shoemaker took over the starting job last season. He passed for 1,122 yards, six touchdowns, and completed 47% of his passes.

11. Justin Miller – Southern Utah

September 9 in Provo


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Miller has had an unlikely path as SUU’s starting quarterback. He arrived at Southern Utah as a walk-on and has since had 28 career starts in Cedar City. Last year, the 6-foot-3 quarterback from Highland, Utah, passed for 2,821 yards and 20 touchdowns.

10. Emory Jones – Cincinnati

September 29 in Provo


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The former Florida and Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones is now Cincinnati’s QB1 heading into their first season in the Big 12. Last year at ASU didn’t go well for Jones as he had a 7-4 TD-INT rate. But he could be due for a bounceback this year.

Last year at ASU, he didn’t get to Tempe until the spring. At Cincinnati, Jones has been with the Bearcats since winter conditioning started. His rushing ability could come in handy for the Bearcats as well. Two years ago at Florida, he rushed for 759 yards.

9. Chandler Morris – TCU

October 14 in Ft. Worth, Texas


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As of now, Chandler Morris is known as the guy that started week one of TCU’s season that finished with an appearance in a National Championship game. He has a chance to rewrite that story this year as the starter again.

Morris, a former Oklahoma transfer, has had moments of success in his career. Two years ago against Baylor during its Big 12 championship season, Morris had a 531-yard performance, with 461 yards coming through the air.

Offensive coordinator Garrett Riley left for the same position at Clemson, bringing Kendal Briles in as the new play caller. That should result in an uptempo attack for the TCU offense.

8. Garrett Greene – West Virginia

November 4 in Morgantown, West Virginia


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Greene appears to be the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers heading into the 2023 season. Head coach Neal Brown didn’t officially appoint Greene as the starter at Big 12 Media Days, but reports out of spring ball seemed to indicate Greene had the edge over Nicco Marchiol.

Greene is a former Elite 11 participant with a knack for making big plays on the ground. Last year, he came in off the bench to lead the Mountaineers to a big win over Oklahoma.

7. Alan Bowman – Oklahoma State

November 25 in Stillwater, Oklahoma


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Alan Bowman has produced at a high level in the Big 12 Conference, but it was a long time ago. The former Texas Tech and Michigan quarterback passed for 605 yards against Houston in 2018. He’s the only quarterback in the Big 12 with a game over 600 yards.

Oklahoma State’s offense this year isn’t expected to be like those old Texas Tech offenses under Kliff Kingsbury. There have been reports that Bowman will be asked to go under center more this season.

6. Tyler Shough – Texas Tech

October 21 in Provo


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Seeing Tyler Shough in person at Big 12 Media Days, he looks like an NFL quarterback. There’s no question about that. He’s 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, and has the skill set to play at the next level.

One of the big things for Shough is that he needs to stay healthy. Last year he had a broken collarbone for the second year in a row. But when he returned, he closed the season with four consecutive wins. Shough finished 2022 with 1,304 passing yards and completed nearly 60% of his passes.

Texas Tech still has Behren Morton as the backup if Shough gets banged up or struggles.

5. Dillon Gabriel – Oklahoma

November 18 in Provo


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Dillon Gabriel’s first year in Norman was overshadowed by the Sooners’ first losing season since 1998. Gabriel passed for 3,163 yards and had 25 touchdowns with only six interceptions.

He got banged up midway through the season, and it sent Oklahoma spiraling as rival Texas, 49-0, thumped them.

Gabriel is one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12 this season, but if there’s any mediocre play, it would be interesting to see if Brent Venables gave the call to heralded freshman Jackson Arnold. That likely won’t be needed, as Oklahoma has one of the weaker schedules in the league this season.

4. Hunter Dekkers – Iowa State

November 11 in Provo


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The talent of Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers was a forgotten storyline last season because the Cyclones only averaged 20.2 points per game. Plus, they finished the year with a 4-8 record.

But Dekkers was a bright spot throwing for 3,044 yards. An area that he will have to work on this season is his interceptions. He had 14 picks a season ago, but he’s got a high upside at quarterback.

There is some mystery surrounding Dekkers coming into the season suddenly. At Big 12 Media Days, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell’s first question at the podium was about the gambling investigation that surfaced in May linking Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes athletes. In that same question, Campbell was asked for the “status of quarterback Hunter Dekkers.”

Campbell didn’t address Dekkers’s situation. The 6-foot-3 signal-caller is not directly linked to Iowa State’s gambling investigation, but it is worth monitoring.

3. Quinn Ewers – Texas

October 28 in Austin, Texas


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Quinn Ewers silenced critics who believed No. 1 quarterback Arch Manning would arrive on the forty acres and instantly be inserted as the starting quarterback. Ewers earned the starting quarterback nod from coach Steve Sarkisian coming out of spring.

That’s a significant change from last year, where he was in a quarterback battle with Hudson Card. Ewers said he’s now playing off instinct instead of overthinking what to do.

There are big expectations for Ewers, a former No. 1 prospect himself. Last year, he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors throwing for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns. Those numbers should go up this year with the offensive line he has protecting for him and the wealth of receivers to throw to, including Xavier Worthy.

2. Jalon Daniels – Kansas

September 23 in Lawrence, Kansas


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The preseason Big 12 offensive player of the year pick has high expectations to lead Kansas football to heights they haven’t experienced since the Mark Mangino days. Daniels was the catalyst behind Kansas jumping out to a 5-0 start and national ranking for the first time since 2009.

Last season, he passed for 2,014 yards and only had four interceptions while completing 66% of his passes.

The key for Kansas will be to keep Daniels healthy. During spring practices, Kansas coaches monitored his snap count as he was recovering from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss four games last season.

It will be interesting to see how BYU football tries to defend Daniels in the first Big 12 matchup.

1. KJ Jefferson – Arkansas

September 16 in Fayetteville, Arkansas


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BYU football fans knows how good KJ Jefferson can be on his best day. He was outstanding in Provo a year ago. Fast forward to this year, Jefferson is viewed as the best quarterback in the SEC, earning preseason first-team All-SEC recognition.

There will be a new system for Jefferson to run. Instead of the high-flying, up-tempo attack under Kendal Briles, Arkansas is pivoting to a pro-style attack with Dan Enos as the play-caller. That will force Jefferson to get under center more this fall.

Jefferson has 24 starts under his belt in his collegiate career. Last year, he passed for 2,648 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He completed 68% of his passes a season ago.

Don’t be surprised if next April we see Jefferson as a QB prospect with some first-round buzz next April if he has a big year this season.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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Ranking The Opposing Quarterbacks BYU Football Will Face In 2023