Here is an analysis of incoming 2016 Tennessee football recruit Jarrett Guarantano, who joins the Vols as a quarterback.
Doing everything possible to avoid making the mistake Phillip Fulmer made his final year with the Tennessee Vols, Butch Jones continued with his tradition to bring in a quarterback every year by securing Jarrett Guarantano early in the recruiting season last year.
Guarantano’s commitment sent a clear message: Nobody is a sure bet to become a starting quarterback at Tennessee after the current starter leaves. Everybody has to fight for the position.
A four-star on Rivals, Guarantano committed to the Vols back in April of 2015 and never changed his commitment after that. In fact, the dual-threat quarterback from Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, N.J. went out of his way to recruit other players to come to Tennessee.
Without taking one snap in an official practice, the 6’4″ 188-pound prospect has shown himself to be the potential future of Tennessee Football, even if he never has a starting spot guaranteed.
Guarantano’s abilities as a dual-threat ooze through just with the fact that he runs a 4.65-40, which is very fast for a quarterback. He is very accurate on the run and knows exactly how to elude pressure coming from the outside. He can also stand tall and see over the pocket to make decisions. But Guarantano is not just one-dimensional.
As a pocket passer, Guarantano can make some excellent throws. One of his best attributes is knowing exactly which shoulder to hit his receiver on each throw to make sure the defender can’t get to it, and that has allowed him to thread the needle in double coverage sometimes. He also knows whether or not to lead the receiver or throw it behind him, throw it high or throw it low, to make the right play.
The biggest question surrounding Guarantano is his quickness in making decisions. He had good protection in college and lots of patience before doing something, which is a good thing in a way, but at the college level against SEC defenses, he is going to have to get rid of the ball more quickly and make a quicker decision as to whether he should run or throw. These are all things he was never faced with in New Jersey.
However, Mike DeBord clearly wanted Guarantano and knows how to work with pocket passers. If Guarantano can show he is a quick decision maker, he could be unstoppable.
What Jarrett Guarantano Brings to Tennessee
As we alluded to at the outset, Phillip Fulmer’s undoing at Tennessee was always having his starting quarterback decided after another quarterback departed. The rule is to open the competition the season immediately after you lose your starter, then name the new starter and backup before the next season starts.
Butch Jones is not making that mistake, and Jarrett Guarantano’s arrival assures that he will have options among starters to choose from after Joshua Dobbs leaves. Obviously, as of right now it would come down to Guarantano and Quentin Dormady.
Guarantano is more of a dual-threat like Dobbs than a pocket-passer like Dormady, and if he is anything like Dobbs he could take the starting spot in two years. Dormady adds a nice contrast, but only one can be Dobbs’s backup. With his abilities, Guarantano can definitely challenge Dormady for that role.
And he could easily be the starter in just one year.