On Wednesday, a report from The Athletic suggested that redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will either return to Tennessee for his final year of eligibility or enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
If Guarantano returns to Tennessee in 2020, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a quarterback from the Vols’ roster leave.
That’s because if Guarantano returns, there will be four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster (if UT commit Harrison Bailey sticks to his commitment and signs, which he’s expected to do). Plus the Vols also have Maryland transfer Kasim Hill on the roster as a walk-on.
It’s hard to imagine all of those quarterbacks sticking around in Knoxville next season.
So if Guarantano returns, who is the most likely quarterback to leave?
I think the obvious transfer candidate is redshirt freshman JT Shrout.
It was clear during the 2019 season that Jeremy Pruitt and the offensive staff didn’t have a lot of faith in Shrout’s ability to lead the offense. Even as a redshirt freshman, Pruitt didn’t fully trust Shrout with the offense because he was still too raw as a quarterback.
In four games, Shrout attempted only 27 passes. He passed for 179 yards and one touchdown.
Even if there are some injuries in 2020, it’s hard to imagine Shrout passing Guarantano, Bailey and Brian Maurer on the depth chart (Hill, who had to sit out the 2019 season as a transfer, could also be a factor).
It seems much more likely that Shrout will choose to transfer to a program that has a clear path to playing time.
Or he could transfer to a program where he’s comfortable with the offensive staff.
One possibility could be Western Kentucky.
Former Vols offensive coordinator Tyson Helton is the Hilltoppers’ head coach. And Helton was key in Tennessee landing Shrout during the early signing period in late 2017.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shrout reunite with Helton in Bowling Green.
Of course, it’s still possible that Shrout decides to stick around in Knoxville next season, but I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t seek out other opportunities in the coming weeks/months.
Featured image via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports/Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports