Returning: Joshua Dobbs (SR), Quinten Dormady (SO), Sheriron Jones (RS FR)
Newcomers: Jarrett Guarantano (4-star, No. 1 Dual-Threat QB, per 247Sports)
The Vols have restocked the position with young talent that should serve them well in the coming years, but this season is all about Joshua Dobbs.
Specifically, everybody is wondering if Dobbs can take the next step as a passer. He’s proven he’s an elite runner from the quarterback position – piling up 671 yards yards on the ground last year to lead all quarterbacks in the league.
But Dobbs statistically regressed as a passer in 2015, falling in completion percentage and passing efficiency from the previous year. With the firepower that Tennessee has in the run game, nobody is asking Dobbs to put up massive numbers through the air necessarily.
Can he be a touch more accurate and a bit more efficient? If he can get his completion percentage up to 62-63% after completing 59.6% of his passes last year, this Tennessee offense has the chance to be truly special in 2016.
By the numbers:
• Dobbs: (UT career) 389 of 642 (60.6%), 4192 passing yards, 26 TD, 17 INTs; 288 rushes, 1,329 yards, 20 TDs
• Dormady: (UT career) 13 of 22 (59.1%), 209 passing yards, 1 TD
• UT finished ninth in the SEC in passing yards per game in 2015 (198.6 ypg)
Projected initial depth chart:
There’s no true position battle here at the top of the depth chart. Joshua Dobbs is the starter. Quinten Dormady, at least heading into camp, is the presumed backup. Sheriron Jones and Jarrett Guarantano will battle for positioning in August.
Guarantano is the top candidate, though the coaching staff may want him to see the field in some capacity if they plan for him to contend for the starting job in 2017.