Emotions always run high after a big victory, and there was no shortage of them in Tennessee’s locker room Saturday night.
Embattled quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was among those feeling it after the big win over Missouri. Without him, it’s likely the Vols would not have won the game. Guarantano threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns on the night against one of the nation’s top pass defenses, making it look routine at some points.
It was easily the best performance of his career. It’s even more impressive when you add in the fact that it was his first start since Week 4, when the Vols traveled to Gainesville to take on the Gators.
He was benched in favor of freshman Brian Maurer after that game and then things took a turn for the worse a few weeks later with the infamous goal-line fumble in Tuscaloosa. The bad performances led many to speculate as to whether or not Guarantano would remain with the program after 2019. He graduated back in May, so the option to become a grad-transfer and play elsewhere in 2020 was very realistic.
But a lot has changed since then and Guarantano shed some light on his future after Saturday’s 24-20 win over Missouri.
“I’m a Tennessee Vol,” Guarantano said after the game. “I mean, I put my body on the line for the past three years. I put my mind, heart, soul into this, and I love Knoxville and I’m a Tennessee Vol. I’m just thankful that we get the opportunity to get another two games going, and after this year, then next year we get on a little roll. But I’m a Tennessee Vol.”
It’s encouraging news, considering how he has developed over the last few games. If anything, Guarantano will provide much-needed (and experienced) depth at the position. The Vols will have two true sophomores and a true freshman playing quarterback next year, so a player with Guarantano’s experience could be very useful.
Guarantano has completed 61.2% of his passes for 1,817 yards and has thrown 15 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. His 153.2 quarterback rating is the fourth-best in the SEC.