There's a reason most main characters in football movies are quarterbacks. They're the driving force of the offense, they propel their team downfield. Simply put, the quarterback is in the driver's seat. They are the leader of their team. No one on the field has the ball in their hands longer than a quarterback, and while running backs and wide receivers carry the ball, their task is simple: move forward.
But when the quarterback has the ball, it's all about decision-making. Tuck it and run? Launch a deep pass? Hit your tight end for a checkdown? These options run through a quarterback's brain in a split second. That's the burden of the quarterback. You can be technically perfect, but your decision-making has to match.
With that in mind, let's dive into the 10 signal callers who are ready to make an impact on their team but also on the college football world. These are the top 10 NCAA quarterbacks to watch in the 2022 College Football Season.
10. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
Before you ask, this is the same Sam Hartman who made a name for himself on Netflix's reality series "QB1," by joining up with a small, high school football program as their only decent player. Now at Wake Forest, Hartman has the potential to be one of the nation's top signal-callers in 2022. Last season, Hartman led the Demon Deacons to a 10-2 record, dropping a game to Clemson and another to North Carolina. Hartman also brought the Demon Deacs to the ACC Championship Game, where they'd fall to Kenny Pickett and the University of Pittsburgh. His 3,924 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2021 have made him a top quarterback to look out for in 2022.
9. Anthony Richardson, Florida
Anthony Richardson joins the list at No. 9 as a quarterback to watch out for because he could be a top 5 draft prospect with a breakout campaign in 2022. The 6-foot-4 quarterback is known for his big arm and the ability to make defensive backs miss with his legs. With less experience than the others on this list, Richardson is still not a polished prospect. But with 2022 on the horizon, and Emory Jones now at Arizona State, Richardson is going to be one to keep an eye on.
8. Jake Haener, Fresno State
Jake Haener finished 2021 in the Top 10 in passing yards, yards per game and touchdowns with 4,096 yards, 33 TDs and 9 INTs. The Fresno State field general briefly flirted with the idea of entering the transfer portal before ultimately returning to the Bulldogs for the 2022 season. Perhaps if Fresno State joins the Pac-12, they won't have to worry about star players walking in the offseason. Regardless, with another top-producing season in 2022, Haener should easily enter into the 2023 draft conversation.
7. Tyler Van Dyke, Miami
Starting for the injured D'Eriq King last year is how Tyler Van Dyke got to the game. Tossing 25 touchdown passes and nearly 3,000 yards through the air is what got him on this Top 10 list. Now, he has to justify the position. The U has lost a lot of the wide receiver production to the NFL draft. If Van Dyke can overcome that, Miami may have a good shot at the ACC championship and a New Year's Six bowl game.
6. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
Grayson McCall could end up being No. 2 or 3 on this list by season's end. In fact, if three of the previous QBs weren't surefire first-round prospects he might have been. Fifty three touchdowns and three interceptions in two seasons at Coastal Carolina, that's what this young man has accomplished thus far. I'll say that again, 53 to three, touchdowns to interceptions. A career record of 20-2 to go along with it. Their next stop may be a New Year's bowl game. Hey Selection Committee, does Coastal Carolina have your attention yet?
5. Will Levis, Kentucky
Levis is a former Penn State transfer who will possibly hear his name called on night one of the 2023 NFL Draft. This gifted signal caller tossed 24 touchdowns and added another nine on the ground in 2021. Levis got the Wildcats up to No. 11 in the national rankings and their fourth Starlight Bowl win last season. NFL draft Insider Mel Kiper has said Levis has a "big-time NFL arm" and is probably third right now in the draft rankings behind CJ Stroud and Bryce Young.
4. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina
We have now come to the curious case of Spencer Rattler. Once considered one of the nation's premiere quarterbacks and a potential top 5 pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Rattler imploded last season. He was benched in October for freshman Caleb Williams in the Red River Rivalry game after struggling in the first half, where he committed two turnovers and let Texas get out to a 28-7 first-quarter lead. Rattler is hoping a fresh start in South Carolina will allow him to regain some ground. With his natural ability, he is far and away the best quarterback on paper the Gamecocks have ever played on the field.
3. Caleb Williams, USC
Speaking of former Oklahoma Sooners quarterbacks, star passer Caleb Williams followed his head coach, Lincoln Riley, to USC following the 2021 season. That's devastating for the Sooners, who were looking to ride the momentum of their Alamo Bowl victory over Oregon. On the flip side, it's great for the Trojans, as they look to put together a solid campaign for their first College Football Playoff appearance. Luring Riley and last year's five-star true freshman Williams over to Southern California is a boon to this program and exactly what USC was hoping for. Williams was outstanding at Oklahoma last year, taking the starting role away from Spencer Rattler and never giving it back.
2. CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Ohio State's CJ Stroud is coming off a season where he had 44 touchdowns to just six interceptions. That was good enough for him to finish fourth in the Heisman voting. FOURTH! It was also good enough to make Quinn Ewers enter the transfer portal before heading to Texas. Back to Stroud, I'll give a piece of free advice to the defenses in the Big Ten: run and hide. The consensus favorite to win the Big 10 should only see Michigan, Penn State and an opening week matchup against Notre Dame as potential stumbling blocks en route to a likely playoff berth in 2022. At the bare minimum, Stroud should shoot for being the quarterback who wins "The Game," leaving Michigan's Cade McNamara and head coach Jim Harbaugh wondering what went wrong.
1. Bryce Young, Alabama
There is simply no question that Alabama's Bryce Young is the top QB heading into the 2022 season. He had a Heisman Trophy-winning performance in 2021, and he picked apart Georgia's No. 1-ranked defense in the national championship game, only to lose the big game. Young will certainly be the first QB off the board in the 2023 draft, and if a team like the Lions or Texans has the top pick, he'll go No. 1 overall. The sky's the limit for Young and the Tide. All I can say is, dear God, please give us Stroud vs. Young in the National Championship.