With less movement in the top 10 this week, I'm expanding this week's FCS quarterback rankings to 15 players, providing insight into the depth of high-quality players after one month of play.
I went through all of the games, highlights and stats, creating a top-10 list that ranks the best FCS quarterbacks so far. This top-10 FCS 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
- Rushing ability
That said, let's get into the list.
The top 3 FCS quarterbacks
The top three FCS quarterbacks have separated themselves from the pack after one month of play. They've consistently been dominant week-in and week-out, and have the numbers to prove it.
1. Tim DeMorat | Fordham | Prev: 1
Another week, another spectacular performance from Tim DeMorat. In a week that the rushing attack ran for 277 yards, DeMorat still threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for another score on the ground. After five games, DeMorat is the only FCS quarterback to pass for more than 2,000 yards this season.
2. Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW | Prev: 3
Lindsey Scott Jr. led UIW to a bounce-back win, scoring seven total touchdowns — four passing, three rushing. It's the second game this year that Scott has scored seven total touchdowns. Scott's latest dominant performance bumps him up to No. 2 in a tight race at the top of the rankings.
3. Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State | Prev: 2
Shedeur Sanders was on a bye this week.
The elite tier
This tier of quarterbacks hasn't yet reached the consistent dominant heights of the top three, but the tier has still separated itself as a group of elite quarterbacks who are capable of taking over a game.
4. Nolan Henderson | Delaware | Prev: 4
Nolan Henderson didn't drop eye-popping numbers in Delaware's latest win, completing 25 of 41 passes (61 percent) for 368 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. However, Henderson still led Delaware to another win as the Blue Hens are now 5-0.
5. Matthew Sluka | Holy Cross | Prev: 5
Matthew Sluka consistently shows that he can find the end zone on the ground or through the air, scoring three total touchdowns last week. Sluka passed for 300 yards against a Harvard defense that is among the best in the FCS year after year, leading Holy Cross to a 5-0 start.
6. Lucas Johnson | Montana | Prev: 7
Lucas Johnson completed 18 of 30 passes (60 percent) for 168 yards, a touchdown and an interception while adding 31 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Johnson's numbers weren't spectacular by any means, but his body of work throughout the season's opening month earns him No. 6.
7. Jason Shelley | Missouri State | Prev: 6
Missouri State has now lost three straight games, with the offense sputtering in all three. This week, the Bears led North Dakota 21-20 at halftime, but Jason Shelley threw just one second-half touchdown as the offense stalled in the second half. Shelley has shown the ability to dominate the game, but he'll need to rediscover it if Missouri State wants to end its losing streak.
RANKINGS: See the latest FCS rankings
This tier of quarterbacks has shown their ability as dynamic passers and playmakers, but with each, something is missing that keeps them out of the elite tier.
8. Gunner Talkington | Eastern Washington | Prev: 9
Gunner Talkington didn't play badly against FBS opponent Florida, passing for 244 yards and a touchdown while completing 24 of 37 passes (65 percent). Talkington also showed the ability to pick up yardage with his legs, running for a key first down on a speed option. After a bye week and an FBS opponent, we'll get to know more about the Eastern Washington signal-caller when he plays a top-10 Weber State team this week.
9. Michael Hiers | Samford | Prev: 10
Michael Hiers re-entered the top 10 last week and moved up one spot entering Week 6 after a solid performance against Furman. Hiers helped Samford pull away in the third quarter to pick up a key SoCon win and finished the game with 228 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. As Hiers continues to string together good performances, the Bulldogs look more and more like conference title threats.
10. Dresser Winn | UT Martin | Prev: 11
Dresser Winn enters the top 10 of the quarterback rankings for the first time this season. Against Tennessee Tech, he passed for 335 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21 of 34 (62 percent) of his passes. Winn has pushed the ball downfield all season long, with almost 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns.
UPSETS: See every FCS-over-FBS upset
11. Parker McKinney | Samford | Prev: 12
Parker McKinney found the end zone more on the ground (three times) than in the air (once) as Eastern Kentucky defeated Southern Utah. McKinney was very efficient through the air completing 21 of 26 passes (80 percent) in the win.
12. Matthew McKay | Elon | Prev: 14
Matthew McKay is nearing the top 10 of the rankings after another ranked win. McKay outdueled fellow quarterback Reece Udinski as Elon defeated then-No. 22 Richmond in overtime. McKay threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns and has Elon surging in the CAA.
13. Mike DiLiello | Austin Peay | Prev: 8
Mike DiLiello drops from the top 10 after failing to throw a touchdown in Austin Peay's loss to Central Arkansas.
14. Fred Payton | Mercer | Prev: 16
Fred Payton had an efficient passing day in Mercer's win over Wofford, completing 20 of 25 (80 percent) for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Mercer is 11th in the latest FCS Coaches Poll and Payton leading the offense is a major reason why
15. Sean Chambers/Tommy Mellott | Montana State | Prev: 20
No one outside of Montana State may know if Sean Chambers or Tommy Mellott is the starting quarterback, but the Bobcats have two high-quality options. I'll give Sean Chambers the lead nod and the momentum for a top-15 ranking after he accounted for five total touchdowns and 403 total yards in a win over UC Davis with Mellott hurt. Chambers leads the nation in rushing touchdowns after one month of play.
Here are the quarterbacks just outside the list:
(listed alphabetically by last name)
- Carlos Davis | Western Carolina
- Kasim Hill | Rhode Island
- Davius Richard | North Carolina Central
- Reece Udinski | Richmond
- Connor Watkins | Villanova
- Zion Webb | Jacksonville State
- Darius Wilson | William & Mary