KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — During Tennessee’s “EL17E” live broadcast on National Signing Day, prospective starting quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady each shared why they’re ready to lead the Vols in 2017.
Dormady, a rising junior, talked about waiting his turn behind Josh Dobbs and being excited to finally get the chance “to show what I can do.” Guarantano redshirted in 2016, and the gifted freshman hopes to “run away” with the job given the opportunity.
Tennessee should have a competitive quarterback battle during the spring, but coach Butch Jones is unlikely to tab a starter until deep into fall training camp.
The Vols will have four quarterbacks taking reps in spring practice, with redshirt freshman Sheriron Jones and mid-year enrollee Will McBride joining Dormady and Guarantano.
“The good thing is we have four of them,” Tennessee’s player personnel director Bob Welton said during the “EL17E” show.
“We’re going to go into spring practice with all four guys ready to go and that’s a big advantage.
“We have high hopes for all these guys.”
Welton assessed the strengths of all four quaterbacks, starting with the two frontrunners for the job.
Quinton Dormady: “He’s a good athlete. He’s a big kid. Physically, he’s an NFL looking quarterback and those guys are hard to find. He’s a physically strong kid. … He can break tackles with his strength. … He can escape the pocket almost like a Ben Roethlisberger type. It’s hard to bring him down 1-on-1. He’s able to stay in the pocket, take shots and still get the ball off.”
Jarrett Guarantano: “Obviously, a big-time recruit for us. With him, you get a combination of all the guys. He’s got a big arm. He can run. A good athlete. Heady, smart kid. His biggest thing is just experience. Just learning the game and getting mentality tough enough to handle the grind of handling an SEC schedule.
Meanwhile, Jones isn’t considered a true candidate for the starting job, but Welton spoke glowingly about the redshirt freshman, calling Jones “a really special talent.”
“He has an infectious personality,” Welton said.
“Sheriron has the personality you want every quarterback to have. Intelligent, high energy. Loves this place. The unfortunate thing for Sheriron was he had that injury last year and that really set him back. He’s just now getting healthy and himself ready. We’re excited about Sheriiron because we saw flashes of a really special talent and then kind of had put him on the shelf for a year. We’re excited to see what he can do this spring.”
As for McBride, the Texas native gives Tennessee added depth and another quality arm in the group. He flipped from Memphis late in the process, enrolling at Tennessee just a few weeks later. Welton gushed about the freshman’s confidence and moxie, praising the 3-star prospect for accepting the challenge to come and compete at Tennessee.
“This place wasn’t too big for him,” Welton said.
“That was the worry. Not a huge recruit, but when coaches watched the tape on Will, we always went back and said, ‘We may watch 30 guys, but there’s something about that kid I just like.’ He’s a gunslinger. Also a great athlete. … He’s confident and competitive and that’s what I love about this kid. That’s what you need in this room.”
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