Now that the 2022 season is officially over and college football has moved on to the offseason, it is finally appropriate to start projecting forward and looking at South Carolina’s 2023 opponents. Though there are undoubtedly interesting matchups present, the quarterbacks South Carolina will face will be even more interesting.
From pre-season Heisman Candidates to first-year starters, South Carolina will face an array of quarterbacks, ranging from capable to excellent. Some of these guys will have the Gamecocks marking dates on their calendars in hopes of a fun matchup. Here are the projected starting quarterbacks South Carolina will face.
UNC – Drake Maye
Perhaps the best quarterback on this list, Maye will open up as an early Heisman candidate and a top 5 quarterback in college football in 2023. Expected to be a first-round draft pick and slated at QB2 in the 2024 draft, Maye has cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks in college football.
Furman – Tyler Huff
Huff transferred to Furman before the 2022 season after receiving varying playing time with Presbyterian College. With Furman in 2022, Huff threw for 2199 yards, 15 touchdowns, and eight interceptions with a 68 percent completion percentage over 12 games.
Georgia – Carson Beck
Georgia has finally moved on from Stetson Bennet, who has used up all of his eligibility. Recovering from losing their star QB won’t be easy, but Kirby Smart and the Georgia Coaching staff have plenty of talented quarterbacks in the chamber. Though it could change, the expected starter for the Bulldogs is Carson Beck, a four-star quarterback from Jacksonville, Florida.
Mississippi State – Will Rogers
As expected, Rogers should be the starting quarterback for Mississippi State in 2023. Now a senior, Rogers was excellent in the 2022 season. Rogers’ exceptional season was one of the large reasons for the Bulldogs’ unexpected nine-win season. Rogers threw for a mind-boggling 3974 yards in 2022, ranking ninth in all college football. The pre-season Heisman candidate should be expected to have another big season with Mississippi State.
Tennessee – Joe Milton
One of the most talented quarterbacks in college football, Milton is ready to start for the Volunteers. The former Michigan QB transferred to Tennessee before the 2021 season, though he had to sit behind NFL Draft prospect Hendon Hooker who had an unexpected Heisman candidacy in 2022. Though he has been a career backup, Milton should be able to thrive in Josh Heupel’s offense.
Florida – Graham Mertz
Mertz announced his transfer from Wisconsin to Florida just a few weeks ago, which came as a bit of a surprise for a team loaded on QBs. Mertz, a four-year starter with the Badgers, is expected to be the programs bridge QB. Mertz has a career 38-26 touchdown to interception ratio.
Missouri – Jake Garcia
Though this quarterback room has been crowded with capable starters, the Miami transfer Jake Garcia is expected to start for the Tigers in 2023. Garcia, a former four-star, was a highly touted prospect out of high school, being ranked as one of the ten best QBs in the class of 2021. His collegiate playing time has been extremely limited, but Garcia has strong potential.
Texas A&M – Haynes King
Though he entered the 2021 and 2022 seasons as a starter for the Aggies, injuries have prevented him from playing full seasons. The highly-touted dual-threat QB has been very effective when he has had the chance to play and is someone to watch out for.
Jacksonville State – Te’Sean Smoot
Though Jacksonville State is sure to undergo a position battle this offseason, sophomore QB Te’Sean Smoot should be expected to start for the Gamecocks in 2023. The former three-star QB in the class of 2022 received offers from schools like Army, Air Force, Kentucky, and Marshall.
Vanderbilt – AJ Swann
Swann, a true freshman in 2022, started eight games for the Commodores this past season. The four-star commit showed flashes of greatness this past season, but he still needs polishing. Expect Swann to flourish in 2023 with another offseason to grow and improve.
Kentucky – Destin Wade
Like Georgia, moving on from their NFL quarterback, Will Levis, will not be easy. There is a position competition present, but Destin Wade is expected to win the starting spot. Wade started in the bowl game because Levis opted out and did not have the best performance, but the confidence in the young QB is present.
Clemson – Cade Klubnik
With DJ Uiagalelei transferring to Oregon State, the five-star and former top-10 player in the nation finally has the opportunity to start for the Tigers. Klubnik is an exceptional quarterback who will thrive in a Dabo Swinney led team.
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