Tennessee football sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano may not be the starter this year. But he’s doing everything right with the Volunteers so far.
It’s been a rocky road for Jarrett Guarantano ever since he committed to Tennessee football back in 2016. And there is likely a rocky road ahead of him as well when you look at the direction Jeremy Pruitt and Tyson Helton are going in.
He went from a four-star phenom everybody expected to succeed Joshua Dobbs to being noticeably upset on the sidelines for backing up Quinten Dormady last year to then being thrown to the wolves to start on a team in a downward spiral. All of that was bad enough.
But the rising redshirt sophomore now has to deal with the fact that Pruitt and Helton are installing a complete system change. And in a win-now mentality, they have added a graduate transfer in Keller Chryst at quarterback who will likely be their starter in the Fall.
Here’s the good news, though. Guarantano has still done everything right. And even if he doesn’t start this year, there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have a future on Rocky Top.
Dating back to when he began starting last year, everybody saw Guarantano’s competitive fire. He fought through the terrible system that Butch Jones and Larry Scott forced on him. But the offseason has given us more reason to believe in him.
During spring ball, Guarantano was flawless. He didn’t just outperform Will McBride. He looked great on his own. It was to the point that many of us are questioning if the secondary is going to be historically bad. That still could be true, but for spring ball, it can’t take away from Guarantano’s play.
But he didn’t stop there. Guarantano helped Dobbs earlier this month run a youth football camp in Knoxville. He’s been very active and out in front on things, which is something you always want to see from a quarterback working to be the starter.
Now, we’ve found out he’s attending the Manning Passing Academy. A quick look at Guarantano’s history shows a guy willing to attend any camp to get better. And this is one of the best ones to attend.
All of this shows that Guarantano does not feel entitled to the starting job. He knows he has to earn it for Tennessee football, and he’s doing everything possible to do that. Regardless of whether or not he starts, you have to tip your cap to his efforts.
Even if Chryst does start this year, Guarantano is a very good option as a second-stringer. And Chryst has gotten hurt in the past, so there’s a great chance Guarantano would play anyway.
On top of that, as a graduate transfer senior, Guarantano is still in perfect position to be Chryst’s heir apparent and start for two years after Chryst leaves. Doing that could help him because he could have another year to learn Pruitt’s and Helton’s system.
If he does that and maintains his intangibles, the sky is the limit for him. After all, we have seen his raw talent on the field. The only advice to him would be to not worry if he doesn’t win the job this year. Given what he’s done so far, it’s hard to see him losing the job in 2019 to JT Shrout, McBride, or any other quarterback the coaches bring in.