The writing was on the wall.
Quarterback Harrison Bailey officially entered the transfer portal this afternoon after a week of speculation. Bailey was the third string quarterback on the depth chart, sitting behind Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton.
Bailey announced his departure today via Twitter.
“Dear Tennessee, thank you for allowing me to pursue my academic and athletic career here at this prestigious university. I would like to thank everyone that has helped me develop into the person I am today, on and off the field. To my brothers: I love you guys. We made a lifetime of memories over the last few years. Thank you for always supporting me through thick and thin. It’s with a heavy heart, I would like to announce that I will be entering my name into the transfer portal and exploring other opportunities.”
Bailey is a former five-star quarterback, per Rivals. He signed with Tennessee as a part of the 2020 class — one of Jeremy Pruitt’s biggest recruiting wins in Knoxville. Bailey sat behind Jarrett Guarantano as a freshman before finally getting the nod late in the COVID 2020 season, splitting time with JT Shrout.
Bailey was thought of by most as the frontrunner to land the job as Josh Heupel arrived. Following a nice showing in the Orange and White Game, Joe Milton entered the picture, and everything changed. As fall camp went, it became apparent that Milton was the man the new staff wanted to start.
Things became crystal clear for everyone once Hooker was revealed as the No. 2 quarterback. With Hooker having a year left and Milton having another couple, the move for Bailey was clear. He joins Brian Maurer in the transfer portal now, both looking for a better path to playing time. Other Tennessee transfers JT Shrout (Colorado) and Kaidon Salter (Liberty) have since found new homes.
Tennessee holds a commitment from four-star quarterback Tayven Jackson, who will arrive next year. The Vols will now operate with just two scholarship quarterbacks for the remainder of the season. Tennessee has three listed walk-on quarterbacks — Spencer Smith, Sully McDermott and UCF transfer Gaston Moore.
Bailey still has four years of eligibility remaining.