Right now, the Pac-12 might have more quarterbacking talent than any other conference in college football. With that in mind, how will Shedeur Sanders compare, as he leaps from a low-level FCS conference, to a conference that seems to possess the pinnacle of FBS quarterbacking?

Let’s take a trip around the Pac-12 to try and figure out just how Sanders stacks up relative to his newfound peers.

Tier I: The 2024 No. 1 overall pick

1. Caleb Williams, USC: Williams deserves to be in a tier of his own, as the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s an accurate and gifted passer of the football, a natural creator off-schedule, and has the ability to create offensive production out of thin air with his legs. Not only is Williams the favorite to go No. 1, but he’s also the most lauded projected top pick we’ve had since Trevor Lawrence.

Tier II: Bonafide star quarterbacks

2. Bo Nix, Oregon: While at Auburn, Bo Nix should’ve been dubbed ‘Professor Chaos’ for his erratic and volatile style of quarterbacking, but we saw him take strides towards reining that in during his first season with the Ducks. He completed 71.9% of his passes, the best rate in the Pac-12, while also posting the conference’s second-best touchdown-interception ratio. If he continues to build on that and shows that it wasn’t a one-year mirage, he might be able to enter the first-round conversation.

3. Michael Penix Jr., Washington: Halfway through last season, Michael Penix Jr. was on such a ridiculous tear, it looked like he might belong in the Caleb Williams tier, though that changed over the final half of the season. Over Washington’s first seven games, Penix tallied 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Over the final six games, Penix totaled 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. Like Nix, the flashes of brilliance have been great enough to believe Penix can be one of the conference’s elite quarterbacks, but there are a few red flags to consider.

4.  Cam Rising, Utah: It will be interesting to see what Cam Rising will do, now that his top receiving threat, Dalton Kincaid, is NFL bound, but he showed enough last year to hold onto the top spot in the non-Caleb-Williams category (though Nix is feverishly nipping at his heels), if not for suffering a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl. He offers functional mobility and a strong enough arm, but his accuracy, touch, poise, and experience playing at the highest level of the Pac-12 are his greatest strengths. Rising would’ve likely been a mid-round selection in this year’s NFL Draft if not for the injury, and will look to rebuild that stock this season.

Tier III: Intriguing bets with tremendous upside

5. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado: We have never seen Shedeur Sanders play against FBS-caliber competition before, outside of the spring game, landing him in Tier III, but he will have every opportunity to join the ranks of the elite in 2023.

For starters, few other starters can feel as good about their supporting cast as Sanders can.

The line is still a work in progress, but already showed signs of growth in 2022 before Coach Prime added considerable talent to the room. The running game looks equally promising, with star running back Alton McCaskill leading the way, while Dylan Edwards and Anthony Hankerson provide solid depth. Then, the wide receiver corps projects to be one of the 15 best in college football, with waves upon waves of contributors. Lastly, Shedeur Sanders has a proven head coach and highly respected offensive mind, with Sean Lewis, working as his offensive coordinator. He is perfectly positioned to thrive.

Then, on top of all that, Shedeur Sanders was lights-out in his Spring Game action for the Buffaloes, completing 16 of his 19 attempts for 234 yards and three total touchdowns. Now, it’s an exhibation game, and should be viewed as such, but even in an academic setting, it’s hard to blend that extreme marriage of explosiveness and efficiency.

6. Dante Moore/Collin Schlee, UCLA: It’s difficult to determine who UCLA’s starting quarterback for 2023 will be, as Collin Schlee just transferred in after a very productive season for Kent State, in order to build up his draft stock against stronger competition, yet Dante Moore is much easier to envision in a Chip Kelly offense and was a top-five recruit in the 2022 class, per 247Sports. Collin Schlee is far more polished as a passer, but is a statue in the pocket compared to Moore. Kelly’s preferences and Moore’s immense talent should ultimately win out, but the murkiness around the scenario helps push them to the center.

7. Jaden Rashada, Arizona State: Like UCLA, Arizona State is in the midst of a quarterback battle, but theirs is much more clear cut, and doesn’t quite possess the same level of talent. Jaden Rashada was the No. 7 quarterback in the 2023 class, but doesn’t quite compare to Moore. Then, Moore’s top competition are cast-offs from Notre Dame and BYU. There’s no shame in losing the starting job to Sam Hartman, as was the case for Drew Pyne at Notre Dame, but he consistently underwhelmed during his time quarterbacking the irish. Meanwhile, BYU sent Jacob Conover packing in favor of bringing Kedon Slovis in. Enough said.

Tier IV: Established starters bearing warts

8. Cameron Ward, Washington State: Cameron Ward proved he was more than worthy of an FBS starting job, after transferring up from Incarnate Word, but it appeared he struggled with the speed of the game, as he wasn’t able to dominate his competition quite like he had previously. That said, after getting a whole year to adjust, Ward taking a major leap in 2023 wouldn’t surprise.

9. Jayden De Laura, Arizona: The tier structuring might’ve pushed Jayden De Laura a little too far down the list, but his turnover-prone nature is hard to live with, no matter how exciting the highs are. His interception rate was the highest in the conference, outside of J.T. Shrout in 2022, and although he showed signs of growth down the stretch, any optimism that was building was quickly washed away by a four-interception performance in the season’s penultimate game.

Tier V: Good Luck!

10. D.J. Uiagaleilei, Oregon State: It was once widely believed that Trevor Lawrence would enter the NFL, and then Clemson would barely skip a beat, as they had another future top-5 pick waiting in the wings, with D.J. Uiagaleilei. Now, that narrative seems like a lost relic from an alternate reality, as Uiagaleilei instead went on to be one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the entire ACC. It’s not even a given he’ll be able to win this starting job, as he’ll have to wrench it from the incumbent, Ben Gulbranson. No matter who wins the job though, it’s safe to set low expectations for the Beavers’ offense.

11. Sam Jackson, California: With both their starter and their top backup entering the portal, the Golden Bears took a gamble on TCU’s enticing backup, Sam Jackson, who had some nice flashes against CU in Week 1 of 2022. With the Horned Frogs, Jackson was almost exclusively a running threat, and caused a lot of damage to opposing defenses with his legs, but he still has to prove he can compete at the Power-5 level as a down-to-down passer.

12. Ari Patu, Stanford: Just like their rivals, Stanford is left with nowhere to turn other than a seldom-used backup with very little hype surrounding him, though it’s even harder to envision a path to glory with Patu. As NFL Draft prospect Tanner McKee leaves this summer, and his former backup takes over, Stanford might finally be ready to slink back to their pre-Harbaugh status of irrelevance.