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Guarantano named to Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list

(Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI)

Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano was one of 48 quarterbacks named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation announced Tuesday. The award is presented annually to the top senior and upperclassman quarterback set to graduate with their class.

Johnny Unitas, who the award is named after, was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing numbers include 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.

Guarantano was one of nine SEC quarterbacks named to the list. Mac Jones (Alabama), Feleipe Franks (Arkansas), Kyle Trask (Florida), Jamie Newman (Georgia), Terry Wilson (Kentucky), KJ Costello (Mississippi State), Shawn Robinson (Missouri) and Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) joined Guarantano.

The Vols redshirt senior quarterback enters his fifth year in the program. Guarantano is coming off of a redshirt junior season in which he played in 13 games and started in seven. He led Tennessee with 2,158 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, while completing 59 percent of his passes. His 14.2 yards per completion ranked best in the SEC.

Guarantano started all 12 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. He threw for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions, which was the fewest by a Vols’ starting quarterback since Condredge Holloway also threw only three picks in 1972. Guarantano set the UT record for consecutive pass attempts (166) without an interception, breaking the old mark of 143 set by Casey Clausen in 2003. Guarantano completed 62.2 percent of his passes and finished with a 140.97 passer rating.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder became Tennessee’s starting quarterback in the second half of the 2017 season. As a redshirt freshman, Guarantano started six games and appeared in nine contests. He finished with 997 passing yards and four touchdowns with a completion percentage of 62.0 percent.

Guarantano redshirted as a true freshman in 2016 after signing with the Vols as one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the country out of Bergen Catholic High School in Lodi, New Jersey.

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