Entering spring practice, the expectation was that Tennessee football’s quarterback race would be between returning pocket passer Harrison Bailey, returning dual-threat Brian Maurer, Virginia Tech Hokies graduate transfer dual-threat Hendon Hooker and four-star dual threat Kaidon Salter. Then Salter got suspended, and it was down to Bailey, Maurer and Hooker.
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Of those guys, Bailey was the best performer during spring ball. But then Josh Heupel went out and added Michigan Wolverines transfer pocket passer Joe Milton, who can be a dual-threat when necessary. As a result, it was expected that Salter would return and, along with Milton, make for a five-quarterback race that included Bailey, Maurer and Hooker.
Well, Salter was then dismissed, so the race is back to four. All bring something unique to the table. We mentioned Bailey as the top performer in the spring and the one pocket passer. Well, Hooker is the veteran. Maurer has been with the program the longest. Milton is the one guy Heupel signed, and Heupel recruited him when he was the Missouri Tigers offensive coordinator.
Any of these players could win the job, particularly among Hooker, Bailey and Milton. With Tayven Jackson coming in next year, this could be a temporary solution for Heupel, but he’s got a solid group to be able to make a selection and have a splash first year.