USA TODAY International Edition

Three Group of Five passers rise on radar

- Paul Myerberg

As a number of preseason Heisman Trophy contenders struggle with effectiveness or injury – including Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei, Georgia’s JT Daniels and North Carolina’s Sam Howell – two stars from the Southeaste­rn Conference have surged to the front of the line of Football Bowl Subdivisio­n quarterbac­ks.

Alabama’s Bryce Young has lived up to expectatio­ns with seven touchdown passes and no intercepti­ons in two easy wins to open the season. Ole Miss junior Matt Corral has extended his intercepti­on- free streak to three games and more than 100 attempts.

They top a list of college football’s best quarterbac­ks after Week 2. Among those chasing Young and Corral are Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson- Robinson and three standouts from the Group of Five.

1. Bryce Young, Alabama

Young threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama’s 48- 14 win against Mercer before the Crimson Tide’s second- team offense entered the game with five minutes left in the third quarter. He’s attempted four passes in the fourth quarter through two games one year after Mac Jones made just 26 fourth- quarter throws in 13 games.

2. Matt Corral, Ole Miss

The Tide will host Ole Miss on Oct. 2 in a matchup with Heisman and SEC West Division implicatio­ns. Corral’s been terrific in the Rebels’ 2- 0 start, following up his 381 yards passing in the opener against Louisville with five touchdowns in Saturday’s easy win against overmatche­d Austin Peay.

3. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

Rattler rebounded from a spotty performanc­e in the opener against Tulane with 243 passing yards and a careerhigh five touchdowns against Western Carolina. His year is about to heat up: OU’s next four games come against Nebraska, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas.

4. Dorian Thompson- Robinson, UCLA

A second- team pick last season, Thompson- Robinson has the potential to be the first UCLA quarterbac­k to earn first- team all- conference honors since Cade McNown in 1998. Only two Bruins quarterbac­ks have finished in the top five of the Heisman voting in the more than 50 years since Gary Beban became the only winner in program history: McNown ( third in 1998) and Troy Aikman ( third in 1988).

5. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Ridder’s been as polished as expected in Cincinnati’s two easy wins against Miami ( Ohio) and Murray State, averaging 11.4 yards per attempt with six touchdowns in 47 throws. The next two games, against Indiana and Notre Dame, will tell the story of his season and decide how far the Bearcats go in 2021.

6. Will Levis, Kentucky

Levis will make an impact even when he doesn’t throw for 367 yards, as he did in Kentucky’s season opener against Louisiana- Monroe. The Penn State transfer continued to impress in the Wildcats’ 35- 28 win against Missouri, accounting for more than 200 yards of offense and two scores while showing the sort of physical style that will play well in the SEC. He’s helped make UK a solid contender to end this year in the Top 25.

7. Carson Strong, Nevada

Strong hit on 79.1% of his attempts for 381 yards and four touchdowns without an intercepti­on in Nevada’s 49- 10 win against Idaho State, giving a glimpse into what sort of numbers to expect from a trendy NFL prospect once the Wolf Pack move into the meat of the Mountain West schedule in the second half of October and November. Like Ridder, his next two games will decide whether Strong remains on the national map. Nevada takes on Kansas State on the road before heading to Boise State on Oct. 2.

8. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

McCall has only seven incompleti­ons in two games as Coastal Carolina aims to build off last season’s breakthrou­gh and reach the New Year’s Six bowl games. The second- year starter was 17 of 21 for 245 yards and two scores as the Chanticlee­rs beat Kansas for the third year in a row. McCall is completing an FBS- best 82.5% of his passes on 12.7 yards per attempt.

9. Will Rogers, Mississipp­i State

Rogers is showing signs of a secondyear bump under coach Mike Leach, continuing a trend of returning starters making a big leap as they become more comfortabl­e in the Air Raid system. He’s hit on 75% of his throws with five touchdowns and an FBS- leading 72 completion­s in the Bulldogs’ 2- 0 start after posting 11 touchdowns and seven intercepti­ons across 346 attempts in 2020.

10. Sam Howell, North Carolina

Howell returns to the list after bouncing back against Georgia State to the tune of 352 yards and three scores on 12.1 yards per pass. That comes after a hugely disappoint­ing opener against Virginia Tech that saw the preseason Heisman contender toss three picks in a 17- 10 loss.

 ?? REINHOLD MATAY/ USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall is completing an FBS- best 82.5% of his passes on 12.7 yards per attempt.
REINHOLD MATAY/ USA TODAY SPORTS Coastal Carolina’s Grayson McCall is completing an FBS- best 82.5% of his passes on 12.7 yards per attempt.

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