The Tennessee offense has not been fun to watch for two seasons now, thanks to some poor offensive line play and a couple of offensive coordinators who quite frankly didn’t get the job done. Jeremy Pruitt is hoping that his hire of Jim Chaney will provide the Vols with a spark.
The Volunteers return junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who enters the season under his fourth offensive coordinator. They also get back running backs Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan, along with their trio of stud receivers — Josh Palmer, Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings.
Tennessee adds two five-star freshman tackles into the equation on the offensive line, hoping that they can protect quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and allow everyone to see what the junior passer can truly offer.
Rotoworld’s Hayden Winks has gone through the entire college football world and projected each team in the FBS. His projections for the Tennessee offense were understandably conservative, but projected a few steps forward for some key players.
Below are his full projections for Tennessee, along with my thoughts below each player.
Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano: 2,372 yards, 17 touchdowns
2018 stats: 1,907 yards, 12 touchdowns
It’s time for Guarantano to step up and run this show. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal and a veteran SEC play-caller on his side. The key for JG will be what’s in front of him, but if the offensive line takes a step forward, Guarantano should follow — and should be able to stay on the field more.
Running Back Ty Chandler: 694 yards, 6 touchdowns, 219 receiving yards
2018 Stats: 630 yards, 4 touchdowns, 19 catches for 183 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
I think the key to this projection is the health of Chandler, who battled a couple of injuries in 2018. Expect to see him more involved in the passing attack this fall, working out of the slot as well as out of the backfield. I’d guess he beats his projection of 219 receiving yards, but his rushing projection appears spot on in a platoon backfield.
Running Back Tim Jordan: 510 yards, 3 touchdowns, 111 receiving yards
2018 Stats: 522 yards, 3 touchdowns, 116 receiving yards
Jordan returns to his platoon role with Chandler, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a little less work this year. Jeremy Banks appears ready to settle in full time at the running back position, taking over the ‘big back’ role. True freshman Eric Gray is the one to watch here though. The four-star back could eat into Jordan’s role a bit, offering more versatility within the offense.
Wide Receiver Marquez Callaway: 43 receptions, 635 yards, 4 touchdowns
2018 Stats: 37 receptions, 592 yards, 2 touchdowns
Callaway’s production is tied to Guarantano’s production, which unfortunately has limited the senior receiver’s upside to this point. Marquez is one of the better 50-50 ball winners in the country and could use a strong season to vault him up NFL Draft boards. Hopefully Jim Chaney gets him plenty of work and peppers him with targets early and often. Callaway is a big draft sleeper to me entering the season.
Wide Receiver Jauan Jennings: 43 receptions, 588 yards, 4 touchdowns
2018 Stats: 30 receptions, 438 yards, 3 touchdowns
Unfortunately for Jennings, the focus goes right back to his health this fall. After a superb spring game, Jennings injured his knee in a workout last week. How quickly he can return to 100 percent will be the key to what Jauan can do on the football field. He pretty clearly wasn’t 100 percent for much of the season last year.
Wide Receiver Josh Palmer: 28 receptions, 450 yards, 2 touchdowns
2018 Stats: 23 receptions, 484 yards, 2 touchdowns
Palmer may be ready to be ‘the guy’ in this offense, but he’s going to have to settle in for another year of being the WR3 in this offense with Callaway and Jennings on the roster. The big bodied deep threat has a nice blend of speed and size and will force teams to account for him wherever he lines up. This is another guy who could use a few more passes thrown his way in 2019.
Dominick Wood-Anderson: 26 receptions, 263 yards, 2 touchdowns
2018 Stats: 17 receptions, 140 yards, 2 touchdowns
After a big-time recruiting win, Tennessee didn’t exactly go out of their way to feature Wood-Anderson in the offense. To this point, we don’t exactly know what the Vols have in the former four-star JUCO prospect. With so many weapons on the outside, DWA should have some opportunities over the middle, along with true freshman Jackson Lowe. Again though, it all comes back to Guarantano’s development.