In a campus to canton (C2C) league, the incoming freshmen are the “rookie class” since almost all college players headed to the NFL are rostered. For 2022, a quartet of 5-star QBs will lead the way at the most important position in football. Cade Klubnik, Drew Allar, Ty Simpson, and Conner Weigman are at the top of most lists in some order. Allar seems to be the favorite in our campus2canton.com mocks, going as high as the late second round. However, college football is a vast landscape, and lesser-known signal-callers often bubble up and stake a claim for future stardom once they get some exposure. The 2022 NFL draft has a trio of former 3-star QBs who will have a chance to compete in 2022 (Willis, Pickett, and Ridder). Mining these lower-ranked prospects for guys that can have an NFL future is an overlooked area in C2C leagues.

The following players are my favorite three-star quarterbacks (per 247sports.com composite rankings) in the 2022 class. Players with the “EE” designation will enroll early in the spring.

 

Tier 1 -NFL Potential

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Conner Harrell (EE) North Carolina 6’1″ 195   AzSt, Northwestern

Despite his lower recruiting ranking, Conner Harrell checks almost every box you can ask for. He’s a two-time Alabama state champion, dual-threat quarterback who completed over 70% of his passes with greater than ten yards per attempt and threw for 83 touchdowns to just six interceptions over the final two years of his career. You basically couldn’t draw up a better profile. He’s headed to a good Power 5 program with an unsettled depth chart, and I am very excited to see if he can make a name for himself early in Chapel Hill.

Notable departures: Sam Howell Incumbents: Drake Maye (R-Fr), Jacolby Criswell (So)

Tier 2 – Worth drafting in C2C startup

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Alex Orji (EE) Michigan 6’2″ 226   VaTech, Oklahoma

The highest upside on this list probably belongs to Alex Orji. Already sporting a massive frame, he has the arm cannon and dual-threat ability where you can envision a Cam Newton or Anthony Richardson style of play. His accuracy and development as a passer will determine how high he can rise. While he only completed 51% of his passes with a 33:15 TD:INT ratio, Orji ran for 2113 yards and 39 scores over his final two seasons. One question mark was whether the Wolverines would transition Orji to defense, but he is clearly listed as a QB on the team site. Heading into year two, JJ McCarthy has failed to overtake game-manager Cade McNamara. When the competition opens prior to 2023, I think Orji, and his dynamic playmaking ability, will challenge to start. 

Notable departure: None Incumbents: Cade McNamara (Sr), JJ McCarthy (So)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Major schools
Thomas Castellanos (EE) UCF 6’0″ 190   FSU, GaTEch

Specifically making the cut because of premium college fantasy potential is Thomas Castellanos. The most electric QB I watched this cycle, Castellanos may not quite be his listed weight of 190 and his frame looks like there isn’t much room for growth. Size may be a limiting factor in his ultimate potential, but for UCF, he can be a star. A four-year starter, Castellanos’ passing improved throughout his career, finishing on a high note with 64% completion and nearly ten yards per attempt. And about that athleticism? He accumulated 3,681 rushing yards in four years. Sign me up.

Notable departure: Dillon Gabriel Incumbent: Mikey Keene (So) Transfer in: John Rhys Plumlee (Sr)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Luther Richesson Cincinnati 6’3″ 204   None

Luther Richesson appeared on my radar as the lowest-rated QB at the Elite 11 finals last year. He seemed out of place with all the other big names, but he competed and wound up in that coveted top 11. His tape shows a good enough arm but superior ball placement, a sharp throwing motion, and good pocket mobility. Coached by Trent Dilfer, Richesson should have plenty of quality teaching already in his system. I think he may need some time to marinate at Cincinnati but should provide a seamless transition once Evan Prater moves on.

Notable departure: Desmond Ridder Incumbent: Evan Prater (R-So) Transfer in: Ben Bryant (Sr)

Tier 3 – Developmental with fun tools

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Joe Humphreys Miami (OH) 6’4″ 195   App. St, Kent St

I look forward to watching Joe Humphreys on Tuesday night #MACtion over the next few years. His tape is genuinely fun as he displays high-level athleticism with a quality arm. During his outrageous senior year, he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns while running for 600 more yards and 17 scores. Humphreys should take over after Brett Gabbert finishes his strong career for the RedHawks. 

Notable departure: None Incumbent: Brett Gabbert (Sr)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Cardell Williams (EE) Tulsa 6’2″ 180   Houston

Tulsa may have snagged a legitimate sleeper in Williams. The Texas prospect was a three-year starter, accounting for over 100 touchdowns in his career. He shows a nice throwing motion and adequate mobility.

Notable departure: None Incumbent: Davis Brinn (Sr)

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Josh Hoover (EE) TCU 6’1″ 206   Indiana

The main quality Hoover shows is ball placement. He has a quality arm and delivers a very catchable ball time and time again. I originally had him higher in these rankings. However, his complete lack of mobility is concerning when projecting to the next level. With the transition to a wide-open Air Raid attack in Fort Worth, Hoover has a prime opportunity to light up box scores over the next few years. 

Notable departure: None Incumbents: Max Duggan (Sr), Chandler Morris (R-Fr)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Max Brown Florida 6’3″ 200   None

After striking out on a few bigger names, Florida convinced Brown to move south to Gainesville. Originally committed to Central Michigan, the Oklahoma native turned some heads with a stellar senior season, completing over 70% of his passes with a 41:4 TD:INT ratio and 1300 rushing yards. He displays the tools you’d like to see in a sleeper quarterback but my main concern is that the arm doesn’t look as sharp as needed to compete in the SEC. Given the state of the Florida QB room, Brown could legitimately be in line to compete for the job as soon as 2023. 

Notable departures: Emory Jones Incumbent: Anthony Richardson (R-So) Transfer In: Jack Miller (R-So)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major schools
Delaney Crawford Virginia 6’3″ 180   None

I’ll keep it short and sweet. This is a quarterback who runs a 10.5 100-meter and the arm is good enough at this stage. I will absolutely take Virginia to the playoff in NCAA 2023 with Delaney Crawford at quarterback. As far as real life? I’m happy to bet on elite rushing upside. 

Notable departures: None   Incumbent: Brennan Armstrong (Sr)

 

Name Signed Ht Wt   Other major offers
Treyson Bourguet Western Mich 6’2″ 185   BYU

Another potential #MACtion star, Bourguet strikes me as a solid dual-threat quarterback with a decent arm. If you haven’t been able to tell, I have a type. As a senior, he accounted for a 20% rushing market share with 615 yards and also threw for 2110 yards with a 60% completion and a tidy 30:3 TD:INT ratio. I can’t wait for WMU v. MiamiOH matchup in a few years. 

Notable departures: Kaleb Eleby Incumbent: None with meaningful experience

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