There are two very different views of Tennessee Vols quarterback Jarrett Guarantano.
On one hand, there’s a group of fans that can’t wait to see the redshirt senior quarterback leave Knoxville. And on the other hand, there’s the folks close to the program — players, coaches, friends — who have the utmost respect for Guarantano and how he’s handled his time at Tennessee.
The differing views is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. But at the same time, I understand why there are differing views.
Guarantano has all the talent in the world. He has the prototypical size and the big arm. He’s tough as nails. But he’s been frustratingly inconsistent during his time on Rocky Top.
There’s the good.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) November 24, 2018
Jarrett Guarantano has missed some deep throws this year, but I love the way he hung this ball up for Marquez Callaway to make a play.
Guarantano doesn’t try to do too much. He sees he has his big receiver one-on-one and lets him do the rest. pic.twitter.com/i082k8ml9j
— Joel Silverberg (@JoelSilverberg) October 27, 2019
And there’s the not-so-good.
Three passes from Jarrett Guarantano I mentioned last night:
Play #1: Has Jennings open in the end zone, but the pass is late and Jennings has to come back to it. Austin Lee knocks it away. Tennessee would settle for a field goal. pic.twitter.com/rFXDqtJpeE
— Joel Silverberg (@JoelSilverberg) September 8, 2019
When you combine the bad throws to wide open receivers with the goal line audible/fumble against Alabama, it’s easy to see why certain fans are ready to see Guarantano go.
Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt chews out Jarrett Guarantano and pulls his facemask after goal-line fumble pic.twitter.com/xQBiPvq0is
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 20, 2019
But despite the adversity that Guarantano has faced, he’s remained fiercely loyal to Tennessee.
JG lost his starting job last year. But he didn’t sulk (he’s grown a lot since that Georgia Tech game in 2017). Guarantano continued to work hard, support his teammates and stay ready.
As a result, Guarantano played a big role in the Vols’ six game winning streak to close the season. Without JG, Tennessee doesn’t finish 8-5 last season (though to be fair, it could also be argued that if he played better in the first two games maybe UT finishes 10-3).
It would’ve been easy for Guarantano to transfer after his redshirt junior season. He’s from New Jersey and he had a previous relationship with Greg Schiano (who just took over in his second stint as Rutgers’ head coach). With five-star true freshman Harrison Bailey coming in this year, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see JG leave.
Instead, he remained dedicated to Tennessee. And not only is Guarantano returning for his final season of eligibility, he’s been working out with Bailey during the offseason.
JG’s teammates love him. They respect him. They respect his toughness (Guarantano is one of the toughest quarterbacks I’ve ever seen…he played the last month of the 2019 season with a broken hand). Sure, he’s made some mistakes. But he’s always held his head high and owned those mistakes.
Nigel Warrior discusses what it meant to him & teammates after Guarantano addressed the team. pic.twitter.com/fwkAo1VvOP
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) November 27, 2019
On Tuesday evening, Guarantano tweeted a video that drew the ire of some fans.
In the business of proving myself right.. ⏰ pic.twitter.com/QCRdz6WaNv
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@BroadwayJay2) May 12, 2020
People close to JG, however, had a much different reaction.
Hate on JG if you wish, but there’s a lot of Orange love thrown his way. People in/around the program (along with first round picks) respect him. pic.twitter.com/jzv3DNUeXW
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) May 13, 2020
I don’t know what 2020 holds for Guarantano. Maybe he finally reaches his potential (he’s certainly been working hard during the off-season). Or maybe it’s more of the same.
Either way, it’s clear that JG loves Tennessee. He’s a Vol through and through. It hasn’t been easy for him at UT, yet he still bleeds orange. I think that says more about his character than anything he’s done on the field.
Featured image via Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports