The hottest question on Rocky Top is who will be the starting quarterback when the Tennessee Volunteers open up against Bowling Green on September 2. While they have less than two months to figure it out, first year head coach Josh Heupel gave no leads on who has the advantage at gaining the keys to the Volunteers offense.
For context, four Volunteers quarterbacks are battling it out for the position. They include Hendon Hooker, Harrison Bailey, Brian Maurer and Joe Milton.
Heupel did not call or single out any quarterbacks during his presser but stated that the team will factor in who earns the starting position.
“I think the quarterback position, it’s really important that every other member of your team, offensively and defensively, see that the guy has earned the opportunity to be your quarterback,” said Heupel when asked how long it will be until he starts lowering reps and gets it down to two quarterbacks.
“As we move, guys are going to earn more reps. Guys are going to earn less reps. Once they’ve done that, we’re going to move at that rate.”
One quarterback who has had in game reps and is returning for the season is Bailey. Bailey is from Marietta, Georgia and played in six games while starting three for the Volunteers.
As the quarterback competition continues, quarterbacks will begin to separate themselves from the competition. Harrison so far does the minor things that stand out to Heupel.
“Smart [and] competitive,” said Heupel when asked what things he notices and can bring to the table. “He cares about his teammates [and] he’s going to push his teammates. He’s going to pour into them. He’s one of the first guys in the building every day.”
Whoever is determined to be the starting quarterback, they will be throwing to a reliable target in senior Velus Jones Jr. After coming from Southern California, he will be in his senior season for the Volunteers. He ranked third on the team in receptions and yards but is excited to be playing under Heupel.
“I’m so excited,” said Jones Jr. “I did my research. He’s been like top five for years. I’m so excited with my ability to catch the ball, to get yards after the catch and a deep ball threat. It’s just like a dream come true playing in this offense.”