If you’re a Tennessee Vols fan who is clamoring for true freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey to get a shot at unseating Jarrett Guarantano early this season, you probably aren’t getting your wish.
That’s because it’s starting to appear that Bailey won’t even be the top backup option to Guarantano to start the season.
And that’s due to several factors.
First off, Bailey hasn’t had much time on the field with the Vols. He only went through a handful of spring practices. And he hasn’t practiced yet this fall.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Friday that the former five-star recruit is in “social quarantine”. Pruitt didn’t specify if Bailey tested positive for COVID-19 or if he came in contact with someone who tested positive. Either way, Bailey hasn’t been on the practice field.
#Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt says that Harrison Bailey has not practiced this week because he’s in quarantine.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) August 21, 2020
“He has not practiced. The last press conference I told y’all we had some guys that were in some social quarantine. He’s one of the guys that is,” said Pruitt on Friday.
Without those reps, it’s nearly impossible for a true freshman quarterback to climb the depth chart.
Now, I think Bailey will be near the top of the depth chart by the end of the season. And if JG falters, perhaps he gets a shot (we know from last season with Brian Maurer that Pruitt isn’t afraid to play a true freshman quarterback).
So if Bailey isn’t the top backup option, who is?
The assumption is that it would be Brian Maurer, who saw significant action in 2019. But it might actually be redshirt sophomore JT Shrout. Recent reports have suggested that Shrout has looked more consistent in practice this fall than Maurer.
This isn’t a total surprise. The talent has always been there with Shrout, he was just a bit raw when he arrived at Tennessee as a result of playing in a spread offense in high school.
It’ll be interesting to see how the quarterback depth chart looks at the end of the year, but for now, it certainly appears we know what it will look like to start the season.
Featured image via 247Sports