2022 College Football Position Battles: DJ Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik headline QB battles in 2022

Amongst a bevy of brilliant college football quarterbacks, 2022 is set to give us some of the most hotly contested QB battles we've ever seen.

Forget the NFL Draft, forget the NFL and USFL, college football is on its way back, baby. In 2022, we’re going to be spoiled with an absolute bevy of brilliant quarterbacks. We’re set for some hotly contested QB competitions across the country ahead of this fall. Which QB battles should we pay attention to ahead of the 2022 college football season?

2022 College football quarterback battles to be aware of

Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young are set to be the cream of the crop this season. However, many top college football programs are set to host QB battles ahead of the 2022 season. Below, we have some of the most high-profile college football programs with quarterbacks battling for starting jobs in 2022. Meanwhile, some of the other 2022 QB battles in college football are listed at the bottom.

Clemson: DJ Uiagalelei vs. Cade Klubnik

Remember that two-game stretch in 2020 where DJ Uiagalelei stepped in for Trevor Lawrence, threw 4 touchdowns and 781 passing yards, and put himself in position to be the next great Clemson quarterback? Seems like a long time ago, right? In his first season as a starter last year, Uiagalelei limped to 2,246 passing yards, averaging 6 yards per throw, and tallying 9 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Now, there were a lot of factors involved in last season’s dismal performance for the Clemson quarterback. The offensive line play wasn’t ideal, nor was the play-calling. Nonetheless, something didn’t feel right with Uiagalelei himself either, and those problems seemingly continued into the Clemson spring game.

As a result, Clemson projects to have one of the top quarterback battles in college football ahead of the 2022 season. Cade Klubnik comes into Death Valley and puts immediate pressure on Uiagalelei as the No. 1 QB recruit in the 2022 class. He showcased he could make all the throws at the high school level and possesses excellent pocket presence. An impressive spring game performance turns up the heat on this QB battle.

Texas A&M: Haynes King vs. Max Johnson vs. Conner Weigman

For the second consecutive season, Texas A&M heads into the college football season with quarterback uncertainty. Last season, Haynes King won the quarterback battle with Zach Calzada. However, after throwing 3 interceptions against Kent State, a fractured leg suffered in the opening quarter against Colorado sidelined him for the season.

While King begins the season as the favorite to line up under center, the addition of former LSU QB Max Johnson gives the Aggies one of the most intriguing QB battles ahead of the 2022 college football season. Johnson could provide a steadying presence for the Aggies’ offense, with his experience and strong football intelligence being invaluable for what is shaping up to be an inexperienced Texas A&M team.

Then, there’s true freshman Conner Weigman. The five-star recruit has reportedly made an immediate impression on head coach Jimbo Fisher during his short time with the Aggies. An exceptional high school athlete, Weigman also showcases a rifle for an arm while being able to throw outside the confines of the pocket. Weigman might take starting reps sooner rather than later if the season gets off to a slow start.

Oregon: Bo Nix vs. Ty Thompson vs. Jay Butterfield

A much-maligned figure during his Auburn career, former SEC Freshman of the Year Bo Nix heads across the country looking to resurrect his career on the West Coast. As a result, Oregon is in a position to start a transfer quarterback for the second consecutive season after rolling with former Boston College dual-threat Anthony Brown in 2021.

At his best, Nix offers alluring upside as a passer. His arm is elastic, and the former Auburn star has showcased that he can make even the most difficult throws routine. Additionally, he possesses the off-script creativity that separates good college football quarterbacks from the sensational. Nix’s chances of being the starter are also enhanced by an existing relationship with new Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham.

Yet, for every exceptional pass on his résumé, there’s something more dark and disturbing lurking. Nix has been erratic to the point of dangerous in his career, and that paves the way for a potential QB battle for Oregon ahead of the 2022 college football season. Nix’s experience will undoubtedly see him start camp as the favorite. Still, four-star QBs Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield are waiting to step in if Nix returns to his old ways.

Cincinnati: Ben Bryant vs. Evan Prater

Meet the new Cincinnati quarterback, same as the old Cincinnati quarterback. While that phrase might not strictly hold true, Ben Bryant returns to a Bearcats program that he called home between 2018 and 2020, completing 63% of his passes for 553 yards and throwing 2 touchdowns in extremely limited action behind Desmond Ridder and Hayden Moore.

Ridder departed for the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, and Bryant has returned to old haunts to try and exorcise old ghosts. He’s fresh off a productive campaign for Eastern Michigan, where he threw 3,121 yards, completing 68.4% of his passes with 14 touchdowns. His experience and familiarity with the program should help smooth the transition as Cincinnati moves forward without their record-setting quarterback.

Yet, Bryant could once again find himself on the losing end of a college football quarterback battle ahead of the 2022 season. His role could prove purely supportive to Evan Prater, the program’s highest-ever rated commit. The redshirt-sophomore slinger has long-striding mobility to him that is reminiscent of Ridder. Meanwhile, he has an impressive arm that can drive the ball down the field. He’s spent the last two seasons learning from Ridder. Now, he’s ready to take his place as the starter.

Texas: Hudson Card vs. Quinn Ewers vs. Maalik Murphy

Texas is back! The now yearly refrain may not hold true in terms of their overall college football competitiveness. However, they’re definitely back in terms of the quarterback competition from a year ago being replicated ahead of the 2022 college football season.

Hudson Card and Casey Thompson dueled throughout last summer. It resulted in a messy quarterback catastrophe playing out across the entire season as the expectation of Steve Sarkisian’s offense was buried under a grim reality. While Thompson essentially won the job last season, there were no real winners and no long-term certainty under center.

Card remains from that gruesome season following Thompson’s transfer to Nebraska. While he’s assigned the QB1 slot on the early depth chart, this poses to be the most fascinating of QB battles ahead of the 2022 college football campaign.

Card’s position is under threat from two highly touted newcomers to the Longhorns locker room. Maalik Murphy is a former five-star prospect who boasts a cannon for an arm and NFL size while having decent mobility. Meanwhile, Texas landed the jewel of the transfer portal in Quinn Ewers, the No. 1 player in the 2021 recruiting class. Returning to his native Texas, Ewers is likely to be the long-term answer at QB for the Longhorns.

Honorable mention 2022 college football QB battles

Iowa: Spencer Petras vs. Alex Padilla
Notre Dame: Tyler Buchner vs. Drew Pyne
Pittsburgh: Kedon Slovis vs. Nick Patti vs. Davis Beville
Michigan: Cade McNamara vs. J.J. McCarthy
LSU: Myles Brennan vs. Jayden Daniels vs. Garrett Nussmeier vs. Walker Howard
Florida: Anthony Richardson vs. Jack Miller
Auburn: Zach Calzada vs. T.J. Finley vs. Robby Ashford
North Carolina: Jacolby Criswell vs. Drake Maye
Nebraska: Logan Smothers vs. Chubba Purdy vs. Casey Thompson vs. Heinrich Haarberg
Western Kentucky: Jarret Doege vs. Chance McDonald vs. Darius Ocean vs. Austin Reed vs. Caden Veltkamp

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter: @ojhodgkinson.

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