For the second consecutive year, Tennessee is entering fall camp with a quarterback battle ready to ensue. But this year is much different than last year’s battle, even if two of the participants are the same.
Redshirt sophomore Jarrett Guarantano and true sophomore Will McBride entered last season as competitors with junior Quinten Dormady for Tennessee’s starting quarterback job. Both Guarantano and McBride were the underdogs and ultimately initially lost the competition to Dormady to start the 2017 season. And now the two find themselves in similar roles heading into the 2018 season according to one Las Vegas sportsbook.
According to Diamond Sportsbook International, Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst is the slight favorite over Jarrett Guarantano to win the Vols’ starting quarterback job for the 2018 season.
Keller Chryst -185
Jarrett Guarantano +165
Will McBride +1750
— Tyler Wyatt (@TylerWyattWins) July 23, 2018
Chryst transfers from Stanford having gone 11-2 as a starter while completing 55.4 percent of his passes for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just six interceptions while also rushing for 164 yards and three scores on 66 carries. Only three of Chryst’s 11 wins as a starter came against teams that finished the season with a winning record, however.
Guarantano may not have won the starting job initially last season, but he ended up becoming the Vols’ starter midway through the year. He was only 1-5 as UT’s starting quarterback, however. He completed 61.9 percent of his pass attempts for 997 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions and added a rushing touchdown as well.
Even McBride earned a start last season, filling in for an injured Guarantano late in the season. In his one start against Missouri and his late game action against Southern Miss, McBride completed just 42.5 percent of his passes for 152 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions while also running for 70 yards on 18 carries.
Incoming true freshman J.T. Shrout wasn’t listed on the sportsbook’s betting line.
The Vols begin fall camp on August 3rd, and Tennessee’s quarterback battle can begin in earnest then. Chryst wasn’t part of Tennessee’s roster in the spring, and neither was Shrout. Guarantano and McBride were the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the Vols’ roster during spring practices this year.
Guarantano and Chryst are expected to be the main two combatants for the starting quarterback job this fall. Tennessee opens the 2018 season, their first under head coach Jeremy Pruitt, on September 1st against West Virginia.