Vol fans clamoring for a quarterback change at Tennessee are finally getting their wish.
According to Chris Low of ESPN, sources have indicated to him and ESPN that true freshman Brian Maurer will start at quarterback for the Vols on Saturday when UT hosts No. 3 Georgia in Knoxville.
Redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano started the first four weeks of the season at quarterback for Tennessee, and he started all 12 games at QB for the Vols last season. Dating back to 2017, Guarantano had made 18-straight starts at quarterback for the Vols after missing Tennessee’s road contest against Missouri in November of 2017.
Now, the Vols will turn to a true freshman quarterback for the first time since that 2017 Missouri game.
Freshman Will McBride filled in for the then-redshirt freshman Guarantano after Guarantano suffered an injury the previous week against Southern Miss. McBride started on the road against the Tigers and completed 16 of his 32 passes for 139 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions while also running for 63 yards on 14 carries. Tennessee lost to Missouri 50-17, and Butch Jones was fired as head coach the next day.
This season, Maurer has appeared in two games for Tennessee. The freshman made his UT debut in the Vols’ lone win of the season so far, a 45-0 victory over UT-Chattanooga. In that contest, Maurer didn’t complete either of the two passes he attempted, but he scored a rushing touchdown and finished with 16 rushing yards on four carries.
Maurer started the second half of Tennessee’s contest against Florida two weeks ago after head coach Jeremy Pruitt pulled Guarantano after a sloppy first half of play. Maurer led UT’s offense to their only points of the game on his first drive, helping Tennessee get on the board with a field goal. He would last another couple series before being pulled after throwing an interception. He would come back into the game in garbage time in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 4-of-11 for 44 yards and an interception.
The quarterback Maurer is replacing, Jarrett Guarantano, is 60-of-93 (64.5 percent) on the season with 736 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions in his four starts.
The Ocala, Florida native will be the 11th true freshman quarterback to start for the Vols in program history. He’s the first since 2017 and the fifth true freshman to get a start at QB for Tennessee since 2010.
Tennessee is 2-4 all-time when a true freshman quarterback makes his first career start against an SEC opponent, and UT is 0-3 when that first start for a true freshman QB comes against a ranked opponent.
The Vols (1-3, 0-1 SEC) and Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 SEC) will kick-off at 7:00 PM Eastern in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.