KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee football quarterback derby is still in the “process” stage, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a competitive aspect to it.
Sophomores Will McBride and Jarrett Guarantano are the two scholarship quarterbacks currently with the team, while Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst and 2018 signee JT Shrout will join the team in June.
McBride started only one game as a freshman, and while Guarantano is the bigger, stronger and faster of the two, the young Texan impressed onlookers during the Vols coaching clinic.
“If the season started tomorrow, I believe they’d go with McBride,” said one coach in attendance.
“McBride gets rid of the ball quicker and seems to have the intangibles,” said another.
Perhaps, but Guarantano has looked impressive in the short sessions open to the media, exhibiting a strong and accurate arm.
Guarantano also leads the quarterbacks from one station to the next, his brisk jog outpacing all the others as his group does drill work.
Every coach attending the Vols clinic has different opinions and observations. But the fact more than one said McBride looks better throwing against defenders might catch some off guard.
To be clear, members of the media haven’t been allowed to view any scrimmage situations thus far, so information has been scarce.
Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t talked about individual players in two weeks, and he has been complimentary of Guarantano and McBride.
New offensive coordinator Ty Helton said when he joined the program that he believes each of the quarterbacks have things they do particularly well.
Guarantano’s size (6-foot-4, 218 pounds) gives him a clear-cut advantage over the smaller McBride (6-0, 198), and his experience level is greater with six starts under his belt.
Further, Guarantano is a fierce competitor with great confidence, as exhibited at different times last season.
McBride, meanwhile, proved to be a gamer, outplaying Missouri’s Drew Lock for a half of football last season and earning strong reviews from teammates.
It will be interesting to see the competition unfold as both McBride and Guarantano appear dug in and ready to compete with the incoming quarterbacks.
For now, it’s The Gifted vs. The Gamer.
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