Everybody talks about guys like Peyton Manning, Joshua Dobbs, Tee Martin, Andy Kelly and Heath Shuler when mentioning legendary quarterbacks in Tennessee football history. The Vols have been using a pretty wide-open passing game for years to let those guys shine.
But the first quarterback to lead successful teams on Rocky Top as a true quarterback in the new era was Dewey Warren. And he was highly successful at doing it, so it’s time we remember him for his efforts.
Warren ushered in a new era of Tennessee football and was the key piece to Doug Dickey being able to install his new offense. It was similar to Tim Tebow coming in to run Urban Meyer’s offense with the Florida Gators 40 years later.
He returned the Vols to Top 25 finishes for the first time in nearly a decade, doing it all three years he was a starter en route to a 19-6 overall record. The highlight, of course, came in 1967 when the Vols went 9-2 and won the SEC Championship along with being retroactively declared national champions.
Warren complete 58.6 percent of his passes for his career, throwing for over 3,300 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for another 12 career touchdowns. And this was in the 1960s! He was the trendsetter for the passing game in Knoxville, pretty much shattering every record before him.
As a result, he’s a much bigger Tennessee football legend than people give him credit for being. That’s why he’s far and away one of the most underappreciated Vols ever.