Jeremy Pruitt confirmed Wednesday that Redshirt Freshman QB, J.T. Shrout, will at least have an opportunity to play Saturday against South Carolina. Most of the fan base has expressed their outright feelings that they’re ready to move on from Jarrett Guarantano. And, honestly, the game tape tells the same story.
Guarantano appeared in 12 games last season as the starter and threw only 12 total touchdowns. He’s thrown eight TD’s thus far this season in seven games. To put that in perspective, LSU QB, Joe Burrow has already thrown 29 touchdowns through seven games this season. Tennessee is no where near the quality of team that LSU is, but that discrepancy is enough to see his play style may not fit what UT is looking for.
Shrout was a three-star prospect out of Santa Clarita, California in the 2017 class. He took his team to the state quarterfinals while throwing for 3,064 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior campaign. High School stats don’t hold much weight when transferring to the college level, but it’s nice to know the kid has a gunslinger mentality.
Tennessee is coming off a strong effort against Alabama that was squandered by a goal line fumble early in the 4th quarter by Guarantano. It was a night in which penalties had more of an effect than plays made on the field. And that’s something South Carolina can relate to wholeheartedly.
USC dropped last week’s game as a result of missed calls, specifically a hold and an offensive pass interference that both resulted in touchdowns. Tavien Feaster did the majority of the damage for the Gamecocks with 25 carries resulting in 175 yards and a touchdown. But in the end, Florida proved to be too strong with the final score being in favor of the Gators 38-27.
Tennessee is 2-5 while South Carolina is cruising at 3-4. Both teams need a victory terribly. South Carolina will most likely make a bowl game regardless, but the Vols really need this game to have any chance of making it there. Another concussion to new starter Brian Maurer leaves UT in quite a predicament, though.
Will HC Jeremy Pruitt choose experience in Guarantano? Or will he elect to go with youth and potential in the young Shrout? As a fan of the team watching from the rafters, I hope he elects to go with Shrout and diverge to Guarantano if there is a disaster early.
The fan base that keeps filling the stadium for a 2-5 team is hungry for a winner. The team’s effort has been outstanding the last few weeks, and a good performance here could turn the season around entirely. Jeremy Pruitt has a big decision to make, likely the biggest of his career to date.