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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | September 6, 2022

Shedeur Sanders, Lindsey Scott Jr. and Michael Hiers lead the week 1 FCS quarterback power rankings

FCS football season preview: Players to watch, potential upsets and more

As FCS teams around the country took the field, several quarterbacks stole the show, producing spectacular performances in Week 1. Here's my top-10 list, ranking the best FCS quarterbacks so far.

This ranking evaluates quarterbacks from their performances this season, not factoring in preseason hype. Here are some — not all — of the criteria evaluated:

  • Yards and touchdowns
  • Completion percentage
  • Quality of competition
  • Performance under pressure
  • Clutchness
  • Rushing ability
  • Wins

That said, let's get into the top 10.

The top 10 FCS quarterbacks after Week 1

1. Shedeur Sanders | Jackson State

Jackson State's Shedeur Sanders is the top quarterback in FCS football after Week 1. Sanders showed great accuracy and efficiency against Florida A&M, completing his first 17 passes and finishing the game completing 29 of 33 (88 percent). In Jackson State's 59-3 win, Sanders set a school record, tossing five touchdowns. He also showed great mobility and improvisation, making several throws on the run and ran for 17 yards.

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2. Lindsey Scott Jr. | UIW

In his first start at UIW, Lindsey Scott Jr. went 17-25 passing (68 percent) for 391 yards and six touchdowns, adding in 23 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on seven attempts. Scott did this against a team ranked No. 9 in the country.

Scott's dominating performance came after a weather delay and a delay when the stadium lights went out. No matter what adversity Scott faced, he prevailed in dominating fashion.

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3. Michael Hiers | Samford

Michael Hiers put himself on the national radar when he led an upset of then-No. 6 Kennesaw State. Hiers' Samford team trailed the Owls entering the fourth quarter, but thanks to two fourth-quarter passing touchdowns from Hiers, Samford landed the upset. Hiers finished the day 18-24 (75 percent) for 289 yards and four touchdowns, accounting for all of Samford's scores.

 

4. Tim DeMorat | Fordham

Fordham's Tim DeMorat accounted for six touchdowns in his first game of 2022, five through the air and one on the ground. While DeMorat did toss an interception, he completed 18 of 25 (72 percent). DeMorat stepped up big for Fordham, who trailed Wagner in the third quarter before he accounted for three of his four second-half touchdowns.

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5. Carlos Davis | Western Carolina

Western Carolina's Carlos Davis threw for 433 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in a blowout victory over Charleston Southern. Four of Davis' touchdowns came in the first half as the Catamounts jumped out to a 31-7 lead. Davis finished the game completing 28 of 36 passes (77 percent), but did throw two interceptions.

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6. Gunner Talkington | Eastern Washington

Erik Meyer, Bo Levi Mitchell, Vernon Adams, Eric Barriere and now... Gunner Talkington? Okay, maybe it's too early to put the new Eastern Washington quarterback in the same category as all-time Eagle greats, but his fourth-quarter comeback in Week 1 is a nice start to his career as a starter.

Talkington completed 29 of 46 of his passes (63 percent) for 348 yards and five touchdowns, adding in 60 yards on the ground. Yet, none of Talkington's touchdowns were more important than his 13-yard game-winning score that came with 2:39 left to play. Talkington led his team on an 11-play 75-yard drive, where he went 4 of 6 passing for 56 yards, running for 16 yards on two attempts in a winning effort.

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7. Darius Wilson | William & Mary

Darius Wilson led William & Mary to the first FCS-over-FBS win of 2022, thanks to a career-high 304 yards of total offense. Wilson set a new career-high with 237 passing yards, finishing 12 of 18 (66 percent) for two touchdowns. He added 67 rushing yards (6.7 ypc) and even caught a 19-yard pass. It all led to Wilson and the offense putting up 41 points on an FBS opponent, with 21 coming in the fourth quarter after trailing.

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8. Zion Webb | Jacksonville State

Jacksonville State and Sam Houston are both transitioning to the FBS level, but the programs still play an FCS schedule in 2022. As a result, you'll find Gamecock quarterback Zion Webb on this week's list. 

Webb does have the benefit of playing in Week 0, giving him two performances to secure his spot on this week's list. Webb has led Jacksonville State to wins over two 2021 FCS playoff teams, one being ranked in the top 10. Webb has six rushing touchdowns on just 18 attempts, meaning he scores every three carries. 

However, quarterbacks can't only run the ball, they also have to pass. Webb comes in at No. 8 because in Week 0, he threw more touchdowns than interceptions and in Week 1, he only completed 45 percent of his passes. If Webb's passing catches up to his rushing success, he'll quickly be near the top of this list.

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9. Conner Watkins | Villanova    

Villanova's Conner Watkins made his first career start in Week 1 and impressed right away. Watkins completed 11 of 15 (73 percent) passes for three touchdowns and 298 yards, the most passing yards of any Villanova quarterback in his first career start. Five of Watkins' passes were for 38 yards or more as he attacked downfield. He also added a rushing touchdown in his debut. Watkins did all of this without playing most of the fourth quarter.

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10. Nolan Henderson | Delaware

A healthy Nolan Henderson looks like a dangerous Nolan Henderson as the quarterback led Delaware to the second FCS-over-FBS upset of the weekend. Henderson came out of the gates firing, throwing a touchdown pass on his second attempt of the game. He put the Blue Hens up 14-0 on Navy in the third quarter with a 51-yard touchdown pass. In the upset FCS-over-FBS win, Henderson finished 20 of 32 (62.5 percent) for 189 yards and two touchdowns, letting everyone know he's back at full strength.

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Here are the next 10 just outside the list:

(listed alphabetically by last name)

  • Zevi Eckhaus | Bryant
  • Draylen Ellis | Tennessee State
  • Kasim Hill | Rhode Island
  • Lucas Johnson | Montana
  • Ross Malmgren | Charleston Southern
  • Parker McKinney | Eastern Kentucky
  • Justin Miller | Southern Utah
  • Jason Shelley | Missouri State
  • Matthew Sluka | Holy Cross
  • Davius Richard | North Carolina Central

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