Jarrett Guarantano could break Peyton Manning’s record for most career starts by a Tennessee quarterback if Guarantano returned for a sixth season in 2021, thanks to the NCAA’s ruling last week that the 2020 season won’t affect a player’s eligibility.
The NCAA decided that the 2020 season (and spring 2021, for teams that might play their season then) will not count against fall sports athletes’ eligibility. As such, seniors will remain seniors and can return for another season in 2021. Freshmen will remain freshmen, and so on.
Seniors would return for another season in 2021 would not count against a team’s 85-scholarship limit.
On this edition of “The Volunteer State,” Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams of the News Sentinel discuss whether Guarantano should consider a sixth season in 2021, and whether Tennessee should welcome him to return for a last hurrah.
Guarantano is a 25-game career starter, and he’s the favorite to emerge as this year’s starter from a preseason competition that includes sophomores Brian Maurer and J.T. Shrout and freshman Harrison Bailey.
Manning started 45 games, compiling a 39-6 record, during his career from 1994-97.
Guarantano’s career has been marked by inconsistency. His sluggish play contributed to Tennessee’s 2-5 start last season. He lost the starting job, only to thrive as a backup and regain the starting job amid the team’s six-game winning streak to finish the season.
Although Guarantano’s performance, especially in games against Tennessee’s top rivals, can be fairly criticized, there’s no questioning his grit or commitment to the Vols.
On the other hand, four-star 2021 recruit Kaidon Salter is set to join Tennessee’s quarterback room in January. Perhaps the Vols would be best served by handing off the baton after this season.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake’s subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.