Gone: Joshua Dobbs (graduation)
Returning: Sheriron Jones (RS JR), Quinten Dormady (JR), Jarrett Guarantano (RS FR), Zac Jancek (RS SO)
Newcomers: Will McBride (3-star, No. 28 Dual-Threat QB, per 247Sports)
Tennessee loses a true gem in quarterback Joshua Dobbs, but his backups from last season seem adequately prepared to take center stage to lead offensive coordinator Larry Scott’s starting unit in 2017.
Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano stand out the most, and they headline this position group as we get closer to spring practice.
Dormady has shown off his arm on several occasions, but his lack of mobility doesn’t fit quite as well into Tennessee’s offensive system as Guarantano’s style, which follows that of the now-departed Dobbs a little more closely.
The junior also boasts more on-field experience, though, and that’s something that could play very much into Butch Jones’s decision should Dormady be tabbed as the starter.
At 6’4” and 205 lbs., however, Guarantano brings plenty to the table himself. He is big enough to bulldoze his way over a flailing defender when necessary (6:51 mark, link attached per Hudl), but he also isn’t afraid to stand in the pocket and get drilled, only to deliver a strike over the middle (:59).
This combination should make for a quarterback battle Tennessee fans haven’t seen in a long time once March 21 finally rolls around.
Besides those two, Butch Jones will also look to Jancek, McBride and Jones to produce when needed, especially considering the tidal wave of injuries UT dealt with last season. While Dobbs was a model of durability the past couple seasons, it’s always important to have multiple quarterbacks ready to play.
By the numbers:
> Dormady: (UT career) 11-for-17 for 148 yards in 2016
> Jones: (UT career) went 1-for-1 for two yards last season against Tennessee Tech
> Guarantano: (Bergen Catholic senior year): PASSING: 121-for-176, 1481 yards, 11 TDs/ RUSHING: 83 carries, 206 yards, 6 TDs.
Projected Depth Chart:
Dormady and Guarantano will likely split plenty of time, but I’m going with Dormady to get the start, at least for the first game, because of his experience in Butch Jones’s system if for nothing else.
Sheriron Jones, McBride and Jancek should compete fiercely for the third-string job, but in the minds of Tennessee fans, the battle between the top two is a much bigger concern.