Jeremy Pruitt had a tough decision to make before his first ever game as the Tennessee Vols head coach.
Pruitt had to decide whether Jarrett Guarantano or former Stanford quarterback Keller Chyrst was better suited to lead the Volunteers’ offense.
Guarantano was declared the starter before the season-opener against West Virginia. There have been some ups-and-downs for Guarantano this season, but I think Pruitt made the correct call going with the redshirt sophomore over the graduate transfer.
However, I’m aware there are still some folks calling for Chryst to start, mostly due to a quote where Stanford coach David Shaw indicated that Chryst was too talented to be a backup for the Cardinal.
This recharacterization of what David Shaw said about Keller Chryst is pretty disingenuous. His full quote: “But for a guy like Keller, I told him flat out, that he’s too talented to be a backup for me. That he could find a place to be a starting quarterback in college football.”
— David Ubben (@davidubben) August 15, 2018
As Ubben points out in his tweet, Shaw isn’t necessarily saying Chryst could go anywhere in the country and be a starter. He’s simply saying there was a place for Chryst in college football as a starter. He was probably thinking non-power 5 schools when he made that comment to Chryst.
But Chryst will be irrelevant to next year’s quarterback battle on Rocky Top.
And I absolutely believe there should be an open competition next spring/fall.
Guarantano has done a nice job for the Vols this season. He was absolutely the right choice to lead Tennessee’s offense this season. Guarantano, thanks to his experience in 2017, is well versed in playing behind a porous offensive line.
But expectations are going to be a bit higher in 2019 for the Vols. Which means they need someone under center that can take the offense to the next level.
It’s possible that could be Guarantano. Maybe he continues to improve and get better.
Or maybe JT Shrout, who will be a redshirt freshman next year, has the ability to take Tennessee’s offense to new heights.
It wasn’t that long ago that Pruitt said Shrout has the best arm talent on the team.
Unless something changes during the last seven games of the season, Shrout won’t have any on-field experience heading into the 2019 season. But he’ll have a year of experience in the program under Tennessee’s new coaching staff.
We’ve seen plenty of young quarterbacks make an impact in the SEC. There’s no reason Shrout can’t do the same next season.
I’d be surprised if Pruitt declares a starter before next fall. Tennessee’s head coach loves competition at every position.
The starting quarterback position is no exception.
Featured image via Rivals