clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2022 Depth Chart Preview: Quarterbacks

New, comments
Tennessee v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

What a difference a year makes.

The Josh Heupel era began with four possibilities at starting quarterback — Harrison Bailey, Brian Maurer, Hendon Hooker and maybe even the highly-touted freshman Kaidon Salter. One season later, just one of those guys remain, and three new players have entered the picture.

Thankfully for Heupel, the quarterback position the least of his concerns entering the 2022 season. In a new series ahead of spring practices, we’ll break down each position group before things get going next month.

First up, the quarterbacks.

1. Hendon Hooker (Super Senior)

2021: 206-302 (68.2%), 2,945 yards, 31 TDs, 3 Ints. 620 rushing yards/5 TDs.

No drama here — Hendon Hooker is the starter.

Hooker was beaten out by Joe Milton for the starting job last season, but that didn’t last long. After Milton left the Pittsburgh game due to injury, Hooker took over and never looked back. He put together one of the most efficient seasons in Tennessee history, giving us all an immediate taste of what Josh Heupel’s offense was supposed to look like.

With one more season of eligibility left, Hooker now gets the chance to go through another offseason with his top receiver and four returning offensive line starters. Chemistry should be at an all-time high this fall as Tennessee looks to move into the No. 2 spot in the SEC East.

Hooker will be one of the top returning quarterbacks in the SEC, as well as the country. He’s already generated some NFL buzz, and that noise will likely get louder this fall.

2. Joe Milton (RS Senior)

2021: 32-62 (51.6%), 375 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints. 129 rushing yards/2 TDs.

Milton also enters his second season at Tennessee as Josh Heupel’s staff continues to try to mold the physically gifted passer. On the surface, Milton was a perfect fit for the Heupel attack, but accuracy held him back and ultimately cost him his job. Several chances early on against Pittsburgh were missed downfield, leading to plenty of frustration and ultimately a loss to the eventual ACC Champion.

Milton now enters 2022 as the clear-cut backup, but has a chance to learn and develop further with hopes of using a super-senior season in 2023 to potentially become the starter. Milton has plenty of upside, but keeping his arm under control on deep attempts is a must.

3. Tayven Jackson (Freshman)

Josh Heupel’s first quarterback commitment at Tennessee is officially inside of the program. Jackson will go through the spring with the team, diving into the playbook and getting comfortable operating with tempo. It’s a definite redshirt situation for the now former four-star prospect, as Jackson looks ahead to a battle for the starting job going into 2023.

Jackson will be one of the top stories we’ll be following during spring practices, looking ahead to the future.

4. Navy Shuler (Sophomore)

The son of Heath Shuler has transferred to Tennessee from App State, accepting a preferred walk-on offer from the Volunteers. He has four seasons of eligibility remaining and should provide depth for Heupel over the next few seasons. Shuler is a former three-star recruit.