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Vols will have surprisingly deep QB battle at spring practice

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by Caleb Calhoun

Even with Jarrett Guarantano as Tennessee football’s projected starter, the Volunteers will have a shockingly deep quarterback race in spring practice.

For a team that has a favorite to start going in, Tennessee football sure has lots of moving parts when it comes to spring practice for 2020. The Vols will obviously enter it with Jarrett Guarantano sitting atop the depth chart.

Behind Guarantano, Brian Maurer and JT Shrout both return, and each of them started multiple games last year. All three quarterbacks, however, were pulled at different times due to ineffective play, even if Guarantano was the guy who saw the bulk of the action.


That opens things up for five-star recruit Harrison Bailey. And in spring ball, Bailey throws a major curveball into the quarterback race since he’s en early enrollee. That’s been a major storyline for Tennessee football over the past month.

However, Bailey alone doesn’t show how shockingly deep this race can get. One of the other four early enrollees is three-star athlete Jimmy Holiday. A dual-threat quarterback, Holiday is known for his elite speed, but he could play wide receiver, cornerback or quarterback. There’s a chance Jeremy Pruitt gives him a look at all three spots.

If Holiday and Bailey are both getting a look at quarterback, though, they could both push Maurer and Shrout, and Bailey could end up pushing Guarantano. Also, Pruitt and Jim Chaney will then have a combination of guys to look at, as they will have multiple dual-threat and multiple pro-style guys competing.

But we aren’t done. In addition to those five quarterbacks, Kasim Hill is now eligible to play. Hill transferred to the Vols from the Maryland Terrapins this past year, and he will now be practicing with them in spring practice as well.

Everybody forgets that before he got hurt, Hill was a raw talent. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and is another dual-threat. The only issue surrounding him is his ability to stay healthy, which applies to all Terps quarterbacks in recent years.

Still, Hill adds a third dual-threat to the mix, which has three other pro-style quarterbacks, making for six guys who will be competing for different spots in the rotation this year. We know where some of them won’t land, but we don’t know where any of them will land. Even Guarantano is not safe atop that depth chart right now.

As a result, spring practice could all of a sudden get extremely competitive for Tennessee football signal callers. At the very least, five players will be practicing for spots in the rotation, and that could end up being six depending on what happens with Holiday.

Pruitt built all this up barely two years after he somewhat pushed away two quarterbacks committed to Butch Jones in Michael Penix and Adrian Martinez. His program was dramatically set back when he took over in many ways, and that was just one of them.

Now, Tennessee football is loaded with options. That’s even a giant step beyond where they were when last year started. So this is great news for the Vols, and all that’s left for them now is trying to figure out where the rotation stands. But they have all spring, summer and fall camp to determine that.



Even with Jarrett Guarantano as Tennessee football's projected starter, the Volunteers will have a shockingly deep quarterback race in spring practice. For...


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