Tennessee football: Vols offense better fits Maryland transfer QB Kasim Hill

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Kasim Hill #11 of the Maryland Terrapins throws a first half pass against the Texas Longhorns at FedExField on September 1, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Kasim Hill #11 of the Maryland Terrapins throws a first half pass against the Texas Longhorns at FedExField on September 1, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Maryland Terrapins quarterback transfer Kasim Hill is joining Tennessee football. The Volunteers have an offense that fits him great.

Despite Jarrett Guarantano being a redshirt junior, JT Shrout and Brian Maurer both on the roster, and an elite prospect in Harrison Bailey coming in next year, Tennessee football will have another quarterback on the roster for 2020. Kasim Hill out of Washington, D.C. is transferring from the University of Maryland to the Vols, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.

Hill, who was a four-star recruit in 2017 out of St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C.,  chose the Vols one day after three-star safety Mordecai McDaniel, another player from St. John’s, committed to UT for 2020. He entered the transfer portal back in February, a couple of months after UMD brought back Mike Locksley as head coach.

Despite being listed as a pro-style quarterback, Hill was clearly a dual-threat guy. He stepped in as a true freshman in 2017 and finished an upset win over the Texas Longhorns after the Terps lost Tyrell Pigrome for the year. However, two weeks later, he also suffered a season-ending torn ACL.

Then, as the Terps went through a difficult year last year, dealing with the fallout of Jordan McNair’s death and Matt Canada serving as interim head coach, they just missed a bowl game. But Hill suffered another season-ending torn ACL before the final two games of the season. However, by joining Tennessee football, Hill should be in much better shape to thrive.

Fans will look at his 49.4 percent completion rate last year and criticize it heavily. But Canada’s offense focused on trick plays and reverses as much as possible to make up for other personnel issues. Remember, he is a pocket passer and was in there with Pigrome, a run-first quarterback, to keep the defense guessing. There was never any chance for him to get into a rhythm.

That combined with Hill being in a new system, as Canada was replacing Walt Bell in 2018, and him coming off an ACL tear was naturally going to limit what he could do. But don’t be fooled by it. Hill is very talented.

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The year before, he had completed 85.7 percent of his passes in a game and a half for two touchdowns and also ran for 60 yards and another touchdown. And, for what it’s worth, after beating Texas in 2017, he threw for 222 yards and a touchdown en route to another win over the Longhorns in 2018.

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Before his injuries and the drama at Maryland, Hill was actually billed as the guy who could offset the Terps losing Dwayne Haskins to the Ohio State Buckeyes. He is a true pro-style passer who is now, finally, in a pro-style system. Jim Chaney is the perfect guy to coach the 6’2″ 234-pound quarterback when he’s ready to go.

Everybody is believing in Guarantano because of what Chaney can do with him. Why not believe in Hill? He actually does throw beautiful passes and is physical enough to break tackles while standing in the pocket.

Sure, Hill’s injuries are a concern. But it’s a pretty safe bet that this is due to Maryland’s atrocious medical staff. Remember, this is a school that had four quarterbacks lost for the season in 2012, lost Pigrome and Hill together in 2017 and then Hill again in 2018. Also, offensive lineman Jordan McNair tragically died in 2017 because nobody could properly identify a heat stroke.

Simply put, it has easily the most incompetent medical and conditioning program in the country, even beyond what Butch Jones had on Rocky Top. Hill being out of there should ease people’s concerns about his injuries.

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Since he can’t play this year anyway, he can sit out and learn the offense. Then, with Jeremy Pruitt at the helm, Tennessee football may be able to use him in 2020 if Guarantano does leave early. If he returns, well, Hill can compete with Shrout, Maurer and Bailey for the job in 2021, and he’ll be a fifth-year senior at that point. Given all that, he’s a no-risk potentially high-reward addition.