Jarrett Guarantano will almost certainly be the Tennessee Vols’ starting quarterback when the season starts on September 26 against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Guarantano is a polarizing figure among Vol fans. He’s remained committed to Tennessee despite his ups-and-downs. He’s had some low lows in Knoxville, yet he’s firmly reiterated that he’s a Vol.

There will be plenty of fans clamoring for highly-touted true freshman Harrison Bailey to get a shot this fall. And maybe he does. But because of Guarantano’s experience, and the ten-game conference only schedule, it’s likely going to be JG to start the year (not having spring practice also contributed here).

Unfortunately for Tennessee, the program’s ceiling is limited with Guarantano at the helm.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked the starting quarterbacks in college football and they have Guarantano at No. 36.

From PFF:

Accuracy is a massive issue with Guarantano — in terms of accuracy rate, he actually ranks last among FBS quarterbacks with at least 160 pass attempts that traveled 10 or more yards since 2018. He has, however, taken very good care of the football. Since 2018, his turnover-worthy play rate ranks 11th of 90 FBS quarterbacks. Just as we said in the PFF College Magazine, Guarantano commands the offense and understands timing and footwork; he just needs to find some consistency within his play. His accuracy is likely going to remain unchanged at this stage in his career.

They’re pretty much spot on with their evaluation of Guarantano. Consistency has always been his biggest issue.

Is he the best option to start the season for Tennessee?

Probably so, because of his experience.

Is he going to take the Vols to the top of the SEC East?

Probably not.

In fact, I feel comfortable saying that Tennessee will never win the SEC East until they have a quarterback ranked in the top 10-15 of PFF’s rankings. Those rankings aren’t the end all be all, but they’re usually pretty close.

The hope for the Vols is that Bailey will eventually be that top 10-15 quarterback.

If he is, then I like Tennessee’s chances to win the SEC East over the next few seasons. If not, it’ll be more of the same. And that’s the last thing Vol fans want to see.

Featured image via Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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