Kirk Herbstreit Praises Guarantano’s “Maturity” and “Toughness”

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    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    Tennessee’s starting quarterback, redshirt sophomore Jarrett Guarantano, posted career-highs in almost every single passing category on Saturday when the Vols upset No. 21 Auburn. And some big names in the college football world took notice.

    Several college football analysts chimed in online during and after the Vols’ win over Auburn on Saturday, but Monday morning brought a whole new level of praise for Tennessee’s signal-caller. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit took to Twitter to shower praise upon Guarantano for his performance against Auburn on Monday, pointing out Guarantano’s “maturity” and “toughness” as a big reason Tennessee defeated the Tigers.

    Vol fans have a love/hate relationship with Herbstreit. But they’ll like what he had to say about Guarantano and the UT program after Saturday’s win.

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    Herbstreit posted a video to his Twitter account on Monday breaking down Tennessee’s go-ahead touchdown drive in the third quarter against the Tigers. Herbstreit was focusing specifically on Guarantano’s performance as Tennessee’s quarterback, and he highlighted what he saw as growth and poise from the Vols’ starting QB.

    “I think this drive, we’ll look back as potentially a turning point not only in Tennessee’s season…but I think the growth of their quarterback, which I think is important for the rest of their season,” Herbstreit begins the video. “Jarrett Guarantano was a five-star, super talented player, but I think he grew up in this drive as far as his maturity and decision-making.”

    Herbstreit then goes on to break down the entire possession for the Vols, highlighting Guarantano throughout and pointing out how he completed difficult passes all while taking big hits by Auburn’s defense.

    The ESPN analyst then finishes his video by emphasizing once again that this drive and game could serve as a turning point both for Guarantano and the Vols.

    “I’m telling you right now, that could be a pivotal point in this young man’s career,” Herbstreit concluded. “Good job by Jarrett, taking those shots and delivering a big, big drive for the Vols.”

    Guarantano completed 21 of his 32 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns all while never turning the ball over against Auburn. His 328-yard performance marked the first time a Tennessee quarterback had thrown for 300 yards since Josh Dobbs threw for 340 yards in the Vols’ regular season finale against Vanderbilt in 2016.

    The redshirt sophomore was named to the Pro Football Focus College National Team of the Week for his performance against Auburn, and he received the highest grade of any player in college football this past weekend. Guarantano was also named the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his career performance.