The Tennessee Vols have the potential to be the next program that takes the college football world by storm according to 247Sports Director of Scouting Barton Simmons.
During a recent 247Sports podcast, Simmons suggested that Tennessee could be a quarterback away from experiencing Clemson-like success at the national level.
“I think Tennessee is a fair one to sort of put in the mix there, as far as they could get their Tajh Boyd. They don’t need their Deshaun Watson,” said Simmons when discussing which programs could make a leap toward the top of the college football world.
Simmons added “They could just start taking steps toward the Clemson track if they just get their Tajh Boyd. That’s the first step. Maybe that’s Harrison Bailey, we’ll see.”
Tennessee is certainly in a similar situation that Clemson was during the late 2000’s/the early 2010’s.
While Dabo Swinney took over a better situation at Clemson than Jeremy Pruitt took over at Tennessee, Dabo still had to learn on the job how to become a head coach.
When Swinney was named the Tigers’ interim head coach in 2008, he had been a position coach for 12 years. He didn’t exactly rocket up the coaching ladder.
Clemson hit some bumps during the early part of Swinney’s tenure. In 2010, the Tigers finished with a 6-7 record.
But things started trending up in 2011. Sophomore Tajh Boyd helped lead Clemson to a 10 win season and an appearance in the Orange Bowl (the Tigers haven’t won fewer than 10 games in a season since 2011).
It took Swinney a few years to get things rolling at Clemson. But once he got his quarterback (and once he hired Chad Morris as the offensive coordinator), Clemson started steadily rising until they became one of the premier programs in the nation.
The Vols are a quarterback away from being on that same trajectory. And being a consistent 10 win team.
It’s certainly possible that Jarrett Guarantano could take a big step forward as a redshirt senior in 2020 and get the Vols to 9-10 wins.
But the future of the program is in Bailey’s (and the other young quarterbacks on UT’s roster and committed) hands. Tennessee needs one of the young quarterbacks on the roster to become their Tajh Boyd.
Once that happens, we’ll see Tennessee start making that Clemson leap that everyone can sense is coming.
Featured image via Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports/247Sports