Tennessee proved last season that quarterback depth is extremely important in the SEC.
It looks like the Vols new coaching staff understands the lessons learned last season. Tennessee quarterback Quinten Dormady announced plans to transfer on Monday, but the Vols seem to already have their sights on a replacement.
Tennessee offensive coordinator Tyson Helton has contacted Wagner College graduate transfer Alex Thomson, according to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel.
The Vols have talked to Thomson about blueshirting. That means he would have to pay his way to campus for visits and he would receive a scholarship the first day of camp. His scholarship would then count against the Class of 2019, instead of 2018.
This makes a lot of sense for Tennessee because the 2018 class already holds 17 commitments and there are holes elsewhere on the roster. It would be advantageous to add another quarterback, though.
Tennessee has two in Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride. Quarterback signee JT Shrout will make his way to campus in June, but he likely won’t be ready for SEC action next season.
Thomson would provide some nice insurance in case Guarantano or McBride go down with injuries. Both missed time last season after taking a beating behind a depleted offensive line.
Don’t let Thomson’s humble beginnings at Wagner fool you into thinking he’d be out of his league at Tennessee. He has impressive traits for a quarterback, according to former NFL standout Phil Simms, who worked out with Thomson last summer.
“He can play at any level,” Simms told Thamel. “There’s no question. If things fall right [with his college situation], I definitely think he’s a pro prospect. I don’t even have to hesitate to say that.”
Thomson is a pro-style quarterback who fits into offensive coordinator Tyson Helton’s scheme. He also possesses a “powerful” arm to make any throw, said Simms.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound signal caller threw for 16 touchdowns, 2,436 yards and 5 interceptions in 2016 for the FCS program based in New York. He played only two games this past season because of a shoulder injury.
Thomson’s former offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello, coaches quarterbacks for the San Francisco 49ers. He might be biased, but he believes Thomson has extreme upside.
“I think he’s an NFL quarterback,” Scangarello told Thamel. “I have no doubt about it. He’s athletic, smart and tough, and he’s just scratching the surface as a player. He’s as good as the backup quarterbacks in the NFL right now. I really believe that. He’s legit.”
Thomson has drawn interest from Florida International, Iowa State and Oregon State, along with the Vols. He will take an official visit to FIU in two weeks.
It would be wise for Tennessee to add a quarterback to next season’s roster. The graduate transfer seems like a smart route because of the way the staff can play with the recruiting numbers in the class.
Expect the staff to look elsewhere on the graduate-transfer market if Thomson decides to go elsewhere.