Daniel: What an interesting year. Justin Worley clearly won the job out of camp after Joshua Dobbs struggled to complete much of anything in August. It was, in fact, Nathan Peterman, that looked to be the closest challenger to Worley’s job early. With the original plan to redshirt Dobbs, Worley had some impressive moments early in the season, but struggled with ball security and the hits piled up on him in the middle of the season. It looked like it was headed for a QB competition eventually, but Worley’s shoulder injury sustained at Ole Miss changed all of that. Nathan Peterman got the start against Alabama, but it was Dobbs, who the coaches took the redshirt off of, that came on in relief and was impressive. Dobbs claimed the job going forward and ignited the offense with his feet and, at times, his arm. Some of his inconsistencies showed up in the passing game from time to time, but he made a strong case that he’s UT’s quarterback going forward. Without him, there’s a good chance that Tennessee doesn’t make a bowl this season. All in all, the QB play was a little bit all over the map, but some of Worley’s better moments plus the emergence of Dobbs leads to decent marks for the year. Grade: B
Houston: This group almost needs two separate grades to really reflect the impact that Joshua Dobbs had on the position. Justin Worley fought admirably over the first seven games of the season behind an offensive line that struggled to block anything with a pulse. He took hit after hit and sack after sack before eventually injuring his shoulder late in the game against Ole Miss. Nathan Peterman would get the start against Alabama a week later, but after two series of minimal success, it was time for the Joshua Dobbs show.
Dobbs dazzled against Alabama, but a slow start by Tennessee’s defense would put the game out of reach early and put a slight delay on his coming out party. After getting the start against South Carolina a week later, however, Dobbs erupted with 467 yards of total offense and five touchdowns against the Gamecocks and led his team to an improbable come-from-behind win. The rest of the season wasn’t perfect for Dobbs, who still has to tighten up his accuracy for Tennessee to reach their potential, but there is no doubt that the Vols have found their man moving forward. Grade: B
Reed: What a brutal position to grade. Quarterback play was clearly among the worst in the league for the first half of the season and Dobbs’ emergence likely saved the year. He scored 17 touchdowns in six games and sparked a sputtering Vol offense. Dobbs finished the season 20th nationally in QBR (73.6) – one spot behind Jameis Winston and posted the highest passer rating for a Vol QB since the Bray days. Was he inconsistent at times? Sure. But his ability to make plays is undeniable at this point. He capped the season with an MVP performance against Iowa and averaged 279 yards of offense per game for the year. Grade: B
Average Grade: B