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Shaw: Keller Chryst is too good to be a backup quarterback

Some interesting thoughts about one of Tennessee’s signal-callers

Stanford v Oregon State
Can Chryst make a run at the starting job?
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw came onto the ESPN Campus Conversation podcast and shared his thoughts with Ivan Maisel on former quarterback Keller Chryst.

Shaw’s take was refreshing, honest, and interesting - if you’re a Vols fan - regarding Chryst’s abilities behind center.

“In a nutshell for me, I truly believe if a young person is at your program for four years and graduates, they should be able to make the best decision for them — whether it’s academically or purely sports based,” Shaw told Maisel. “I’m not going to put any judgments on anybody. But for a guy like Keller, I told him flat out, that he’s too talented to be a backup for me. That he could find a place to be a starting quarterback in college football.”

Chryst was preparing as the starter for 2017 until an injury derailed those plans. Shaw opted to go with K.J. Costello afterward, but Chryst still had his moments.

“He showed flashes of brilliance. The Oregon game this past year, you could not play quarterback better than he did in that game. Just outstanding. Had some games that weren’t as good, had some that were really good,” Shaw continued, “(He) got injured, young quarterback got out there and gave us a better chance to win. It was hard for me to come to that conclusion but that’s the conclusion we had to come to.”

Shaw later stated that if Chryst can “find a place to play and play up to his ability, this guy is a draft pick in the top half of the draft.”

The comments are interesting considering the fact that the Vols have an open competition at the quarterback position. Jarrett Guarantano has looked good, but Chryst has been catching up quickly since arriving on campus.

Not that he cares, but it also potentially puts an unfair light on Jeremy Pruitt and the coaching staff’s evaluations. If Chryst is this good, why is Shaw able to see it but Pruitt can’t?

On the other hand, this could prove to be major motivation for Guarantano to get better. The pendulum swings both ways in this instance.

While it’s obvious Shaw wanted to give props to a former player, it may have been better to not go HAM on Chryst’s abilities.

But this is also Tennessee and other than 2016, the quarterback position seems to be unsettled every year before week one and this season is no different thus far.