Early Enrollee: Harrison Bailey, QB
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 224 pounds
School: Marietta (Georgia)
Home Town: Marietta, GA
247Sports Composite: No. 124 overall, No. 4 PRO
247Sports: No. 176 overall, No. 4 PRO
Rivals: 6.0 rating, No. 39 overall, No. 2 PRO
Notable Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Michigan
What we like:
If you want a quarterback who can make pretty much all of the throws needed all across the field, then look no further than Harrison Bailey. He has a strong arm to launch a ball accurately down field, but he can also rifle in passes on shorter routes, too. He can throw a deep pass on a rope, and he’s plenty capable of putting touch on his passes as well. Honestly, watching his film reminds me a lot of a more consistently accurate Tyler Bray. I believe Bray had a stronger arm overall, but the way Bailey slings it around and is just a tall, lanky kid reminds me a lot of Bray when he first got to Tennessee. Bailey isn’t going to wow you with his speed as a runner, but you can tell he’s worked on his footwork and mobility, and he can move around enough to extend plays and can make throws outside of the pocket, too. I like that his highlight film from his senior season shows him going through his progressions, too. He’s not just a “one-read and throw” type of quarterback; he has solid pocket awareness and good football intelligence.
Places to improve:
I think mechanically, Bailey will need to tighten up his delivery some. It’s nothing huge, and I’m certainly no quarterback guru, but it looks like at times he winds up some, and those extra tenths of a second on his delivery will cost him with how fast the pass rushers are in the SEC. As I said above, Bailey isn’t quick, so if the pocket collapses, that could be an issue. He does show good poise in the pocket most of the time, though, and I think that’s been an area he’s worked on a lot since his junior year.
I fully expect Bailey to come into spring practices ready to go and compete, and he should be able to give Jarrett Guarantano, Brian Maurer, and JT Shrout a run for their money. Bailey needs some polishing in a few areas, and he needs to gain some muscle on his frame. But he certainly has the skills to compete for Tennessee’s starting quarterback job as a true freshman, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he finds a way to edge out one of the returning quarterbacks. Even if he doesn’t, I think he sees the field in four games to take advantage of the new redshirt rules.