Heading into spring practice, Tennessee football was set to have a quarterback class made up of two returning players, one transfer and a four-star recruit. However, only three were able to take part in spring ball. They then added a transfer who will join the team in the fall. That makes for a program with five quarterbacks, all of whom can win the starting job in Josh Heupel’s first year.
Obviously, spring ball was the first step towards doing that, but whichever quarterback wins the job will have to constantly prove he is the best, as he’ll have plenty of competition. It’s worth noting that the arrival of four-star dual-threat quarterback Tayven Jackson next year will mean that the quarterback who wins the job this year won’t be safe until the end of 2022.
Still, just three quarterbacks participating in the spring gave us some insight into each player’s situation. Who’s in the best shape? We’re going to break that down here. This is our ranking of Tennessee football’s five scholarship quarterbacks based on who is in the best position with the new staff entering the summer.
6’1″ 190 pounds
Heading into spring practice, many would have bet that Kaidon Salter was at the top of the list and in the best position to start. The four-star dual-threat out of Dallas County’s Cedar Hill High School appeared to be the perfect type of quarterback to run Josh Heupel’s system, and Heupel would consider favoring him for his youth so they could grow together.
Since then, though, a few things have happened. For starters, Salter missed all of spring ball due to a legal issue he got wrapped up in. Then, just this past week, he got wrapped up in another legal issue. But to make matters 10 times worse, Heupel doesn’t have to think about the future anymore because he found his quarterback in Jackson, who we mentioned earlier.
As a result, Salter’s advantage is nullified, and he hasn’t had any chance to showcase his abilities because of his off-the-field issues. At this point, it’s questionable if he’ll even stay on the team, but he’s certainly in the worst position of all Tennessee football quarterbacks given these developments over the past few months.