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Stan Becton | | October 25, 2022

Samford's Michael Hiers leads a new-look FCS quarterback rankings in Week 9

Samford quarterback Michael Hiers Samford quarterback Michael Hiers.

The FCS quarterback rankings have a new look, with a change coming to the top three and three new entrants into the top 10. Let's break down the movement.

The top FCS quarterbacks entering Week 9

Tier 1 - Crème de la Crème 

The two front-runners for the Walter Payton Award.

1. Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW | Prev: 1

Lindsey Scott Jr. separated himself at No. 1 after throwing five touchdowns on 12 completions against Faulkner. 

2. Tim DeMorat | Fordham | Prev: 1

Tim DeMorat and Fordham had a bye last week. He falls slightly behind Scott for No. 1 after having the week off.

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Tier 2 - Consistently Elite

These quarterbacks have consistently been the best in the FCS all season long.

3. Michael Hiers | Samford | Prev: 6

Michael Hiers earned FCS player of the week honors after completing 45 of 51 passes (88 percent) for 442 yards and four touchdowns. Hiers also ran for 50 yards and a touchdown in Samford's win over ETSU. Hiers' performance moves him to the top of the second tier of elite quarterbacks from No. 3 to No. 7.

4. Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State | Prev: 3

Shedeur Sanders drops from No. 3 after throwing just one touchdown in Jackson State's latest win. Sanders has put up quiet outings by his standard over the last few games.

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T-5. Matthew Sluka | Holy Cross | Prev: 4

Matthew Sluka only completed six passes for 82 yards and one touchdown, but he remains in the top five because of when the touchdown occurred. Sluka showed off his clutchness in the fourth quarter, throwing a game-winning touchdown with four minutes to play.

T-5. Nolan Henderson | Delaware | Prev: 5

Nolan Henderson got the job done on homecoming, throwing for 206 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score against Morgan State. However, Henderson did suffer an injury to his non-throwing should that's worth monitoring during the rest of the season.

7. Dresser Winn | UT Martin | Prev: 7

Against the No. 3 team in the FBS, Dresser Winn threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Even though UT Martin suffered a blowout loss, those numbers are impressive.

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Tier 3 - Game Changers

These are quarterbacks that can take over a game and be the main reason their team wins.

8. Tommy Mellott/Sean Chambers | Montana State | Prev: 11

It was the Tommy Mellott show this week as Sean Chambers was out with an injury. As the lone quarterback, Mellott put up video game numbers in a top-five matchup. Mellot threw for 140 yards and a touchdown while running 32 times for 273 yards and three scores. 

9. Parker McKinney | Eastern Kentucky | Prev: 12

Parker McKinney returns to the top 10 quarterbacks after throwing five touchdowns in his latest outing. He also ran for another score in Eastern Kentucky's 56-53 win.

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10. Reece Udinski | Richmond | Prev: 14

Reece Udinski has Richmond firmly in the playoff hunt after completing 30 of 37 passes (81 percent) for 314 yards and three touchdowns last week. Udinski continues to string together good games.

11. Lucas Johnson | Montana | Prev: 9

A week after Montana's first loss, Lucas Johnson got hurt early in a top-10 matchup against Sacramento State. Johnson drops slightly this week, but not too far because of his injury.

12. Mike DiLiello | Austin Peay | Prev: 13

Mike DiLiello and Austin Peay had a bye last week.

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13. Paxton DeLaurent | Southeast Missouri State | Prev: 16

Paxton DeLaurent threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns in Southeast Missouri State's latest win. The Redhawks have yet to lose an FCS game.

14. Fred Payton | Mercer | Prev: 8

Fred Payton drops from the top 10 after throwing three interceptions in a battle of top-15 teams. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter, putting Mercer in a deficit that the Bears couldn't overcome.

T-15. Gevani McCoy | Idaho | Prev: 19

Gevani McCoy's rise continues as he's clearly the best freshman quarterback in the FCS. The Idaho signal-caller threw four touchdowns on 10 completions last week.

T-15. Matthew McKay | Elon | Prev: 10

Elon lost its second-straight game last week and Matthew McKay put up his second-straight underwhelming performance. McKay completed eight of 15 passes (53 percent) for 185 yards, throwing two touchdowns and an interception as the Phoenix only scored 22 points in a blowout loss.

How I rank: I went through all of the games, highlights and stats, creating this list that ranks the best FCS quarterbacks so far. This quarterback ranking evaluates quarterbacks from their performances this season, factoring in every game. Here are some — not all — of the criteria evaluated:

  • Counting stats (yards and touchdowns)
  • Completion percentage
  • Quality of competition
  • Performance under pressure
  • Clutchness
  • Rushing ability
  • Wins

PAST RANKINGS: WEEK 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

Bubbling under

Here are the next 9 quarterbacks just outside the list:

(listed alphabetically by last name)

  • Nic Baker | Southern Illinois
  • Jake Dunniway/Asher O'Hara | Sacramento State
  • Mark Gronowski | South Dakota State
  • Kasim Hill | Rhode Island
  • Preston Hutchinson | Chattanooga
  • Davius Richard | North Carolina Central
  • Trae Self | Stephen F. Austin
  • Connor Watkins | Villanova
  • Darius Wilson | William & Mary

Jake Dunniway and Asher O'Hara are on the rise, leading a top-five scoring offense together. Mark Gronowski is also trending upward after accounting for five total touchdowns last week.

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