Heading into the 2019 season, there is no debate who “the guy” is for the Tennessee Vols.

It’s quarterback Jarrett Guarantano — no questions asked.

Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t been shy about praising Guarantano this spring, at one point telling reporters that the “game has really slowed down” for the redshirt junior from New Jersey.

(Though it’s worth noting that Pruitt offered some sharp criticism of Guarantano on Tuesday, telling the media that the veteran quarterback had his worst practice of the spring during Tennessee’s scrimmage last weekend.)

Part of the reason Guarantano has avoided an open quarterback competition this spring is his improved leadership.

We’ve heard plenty about how Guarantano has become a better leader on and off the field. But on Tuesday, we finally got to see an example of his leadership (albeit a small example).

It’s a small thing that a lot of folks might gloss over, but I think it’s quite telling.

While running down the practice field, true freshman quarterback Brian Maurer, an early enrollee with a ton of potential, had his head down. Guarantano glanced over and literally pushed his head up.

Honestly, I doubt I would’ve had any reaction to Maurer running down the field with his head down if Guarantano hadn’t addressed it. But that’s why Guarnatano is a true leader for this Tennessee team — he notices the little things like that.

Guarantano knows that Maurer could potentially be the future starter on Rocky Top. And he knows his leadership skills have to be on point if that day comes.

Leaders can’t run down the field looking at the ground. They need to be scanning the field so they know what’s going on with everyone at all times.

That’s why Guarantano’s small gesture is important. And that’s why Tennessee’s offense should be in good hands in 2019.

Featured image via Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports

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