It feels weird to type, but Justin Worley will be one of the most experienced starting quarterbacks in the SEC in 2014.
Of course, that’s due in large part to the max exodus of SEC quarterbacks this past off-season.
Names like Manziel, McCarron, Mettenberger and Murray have been replaced by Marshall, Driskel, Wallace and Prescott.
I think most would agree that those four names are the expected top four quarterbacks in the SEC. After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to what to expect this season.
Alabama’s Jacob Coker could end up being in that tier and so could Tennessee’s Worley — at least according to Butch Jones.
On Thursday, Jones was asked by Nashville’s 104.5 the zone if he thought Worley could be one of the top five or six quarterbacks in the SEC.
Jones: “Well I do believe that. Justin Worley has had a tremendous, tremendous off-season. [He] followed that up with a productive spring and then a very, very good and very solid training camp……I’m very encouraged by what I’ve seen with Justin and very confident in his ability to lead this football team.”
I don’t think it’s that far of a stretch to say that Worley could end up in the top half of SEC quarterbacks. He has the experience, his confidence is growing and he certainly has the offensive weapons.
He’s still going to have to prove it on the field, but he was well on his way to doing that in 2013. There’s absolutely no reason to think that Worley won’t improve in 2014.
This isn’t the same Justin Worley that took the field in 2013. This is a more confident player. A player that has the respect of his teammates. A player that his teammates trust.
The Vols lacked true leadership on the field last season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Worley will provide that leadership this season and by extension he will help provide the Vols with a more dynamic offense. He’s not going to be a Heisman Trophy finalist, but I think Butch Jones is right when he says he can be a top five or six quarterback in the SEC.
If that does indeed end up being the case, then the Vols will likely be on their way to a bowl game.