It’s always bad to lose a quarterback. That’s the most important position on the team. For Tennessee football, though, Jarrett Guarantano is even more valuable given the nature of the Vols’ depth and what he has shown he can do.
As Jeremy Pruitt mentioned at SEC Media Days, nobody else on the Vols outside of Guarantano has played a snap of college football at quarterback. Sure, J.T. Shrout has a ton of potential, and Brian Maurer demonstrated an impressive command of the offense in the spring game. But with neither of them having experience, Guarantano becomes a crucial player.
What also makes Guarantano crucial is what we know he can do. He was the most effective player in the SEC statistically under pressure last year, and the only reason his numbers weren’t better is because he was under pressure far more than anybody else. Can another quarterback handle that pressure. Could that have a four-to-one touchdown-interception ratio with it like Guarantano did?
By the way, don’t count out the fact that Pruitt and Jim Chaney will indeed have to turn to Shrout or Maurer at some point this year. Guarantano was knocked out of three games last year due to injury, as the poor offensive line play constantly kept him under pressure. Even so, it’s crucial for UT that he remains healthy, which is why he’s so high on the list.