Ranking the quarterbacks BYU football will face this season. Who’s the toughest QB on the schedule?
From established veterans to hyped-up underclassmen, the Cougars will take on several quarterbacks who present real challenges
All things begin and end with the quarterback position in football — that’s just the way it is.
Here’s a look at the quarterbacks BYU is expected to face this season — barring injuries, ineffectiveness, etc. — and how they rank compared to each other.
1) KJ Jefferson, Arkansas
When BYU plays the Razorbacks: Oct. 15.
Jefferson had a breakout season in 2021 in his first year as the Arkansas starter, throwing for 2,676 yards, 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He also proved dangerous in the run game, rushing for 664 yards and six touchdowns. What will Jefferson do for an encore in leading the top 20 Razorbacks?
2) Tanner McKee, Stanford
When BYU plays the Cardinal: Nov. 26.
McKee’s high ranking on this list may have been more heavily influenced by hype than any other: He’s been talked about as a potential high-round draft pick next year if he chooses to leave school early. McKee took over as Stanford’s starter last year and put up good, not great, numbers, but it’s his high potential that has people taking notice. Will that potential yield improvement this year?
3) Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame
When BYU plays the Fighting Irish: Oct. 8.
Buchner is Notre Dame’s third starting quarterback in as many seasons, although the 19-year-old got some solid experience as a freshman last year. The four-star prospect in the 2021 recruiting class takes on a big challenge in Week 1: facing No. 2 Ohio State on the road.
4) Bo Nix, Oregon
When BYU plays the Ducks: Sept. 17.
While Dan Lanning hasn’t named a starter for the Ducks’ opener, the expectation is that Nix, the transfer from Auburn, will get the nod over redshirt freshman Ty Thompson. Both present challenges to opponents: Nix was a three-year starter in SEC country, though he dealt with inconsistent play. Thompson, meanwhile, is the first five-star QB to sign with Oregon.
5) Blake Shapen, Baylor
When BYU plays the Bears: Sept. 10.
Shapen made the most of his chances last season, completing 72% of his passes for 596 yards and five touchdowns after taking over for an injured Gerry Bohanon late in the year. He won the starting job this year (Bohanon then transferred to USF), and the sophomore Shapen will get to show what he can do leading the Bears offense.
6) Logan Bonner, Utah State
When BYU plays the Aggies: Sept. 29.
Bonner has been a gem for Utah State since transferring there last year. He threw for 36 touchdowns last season to just six interceptions and passed for more than 3,600 yards. He was efficient in a Week 0 win over UConn and looks like he’ll have the defending conference champion Aggies contending again in the Mountain West.
7) Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
When BYU plays the Broncos: Nov. 5.
Bachmeier, who’s shown steady improvement throughout his college career, got the best of BYU last year when Boise State upset the then-No. 10 Cougars in Provo. He’s coming off his best college season, throwing for 3,079 yards, 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
8) Gerry Bohanon, South Florida
When BYU plays the Bulls: Sept. 3.
Bohanon transferred to USF this offseason after losing the starting job at Baylor, though he helped the Bears beat BYU by double-digits last season. How will he do in his new home, after throwing for 2,200 yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2021?
9) Holton Ahlers, East Carolina
When BYU plays the Pirates: Oct. 28.
This feels a bit low for a four-year starter, but that’s how it shakes out with the group of passers BYU will face. Ahlers is a dual threat, having thrown for more than 10,000 yards in his career, with 69 touchdowns passes to 32 interceptions. He’s also run for 1,264 yards and 19 touchdowns.
10) Charlie Brewer, Liberty
When BYU plays the Flames: Oct. 22
The former Baylor four-year starter is on his third FBS team in as many seasons. Things didn’t work out at Utah last year, and he entered the transfer portal after three games. Now, he’s tasked with replacing NFL draft pick Malik Willis at Liberty.
11) Andrew Peasley, Wyoming
When BYU plays the Cowboys: Sept. 24.
Peasley had a rough first game with Wyoming after transferring from Utah State. He completed 5 of 20 passes for 30 yards and an interception in a Week 0 loss to Illinois, though he added 76 yards rushing.
12) Kobe Tracy, Victor Gabalis or Boone Abbott, Utah Tech
When BYU plays the Traiblazers: Nov. 19.
Tracy has more experience in the system — having started five games last season for the Trailblazers — while Gabalis (Washington State) and Abbott (Hawaii) are transfers from FBS programs. Head coach Paul Peterson is keeping his starter silent until the opener.