Tennessee showed it has a lot to work on after its 40-14 loss against West Virginia on Saturday, but redshirt sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano was a bright spot.
After a long battle in fall camp against Stanford graduate transfer Keller Chryst, Guarantano got the nod and led the way up until the final drive, when the clock was running out and the game was all but over. Guarantano finished 19 for 25 with 172 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions.
Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but it was a good showing behind a struggling offensive line, and his poise in the pocket along with quick, accurate throws that helped move the ball showed what put him ahead of Keller Chryst in fall camp. It was a good on-field performance, but former Tennessee wide receiver Donte Stallworth took to Twitter to praise Guarantano for his attitude on the sideline.
I love to see @BroadwayJay2 on the sideline showing love to his teammates in the aftermath of this tough loss. Not hanging his head, but letting his teammates know they can build from this, move forward, and get better. GO VOLS!!
— Donté Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) September 1, 2018
“Not hanging his head,” said Stallworth, “but letting his teammates know they can build from this, move forward, and get better.”
Stallworth is a Tennessee legend, he was a first-round draft pick in 2002 after racking up 1,747 receiving yards in his time in Knoxville. After a ten-year NFL career, Stallworth now serves as a CNN correspondent.
These comments are a stark contrast to what was being said about Guarantano one year ago, when he was not named the starter for Tennessee’s 2017 opener against Georgia Tech, and appeared dejected on the sideline during the game.
Jeremy Pruitt did make it clear that Chryst will get playing time in next week’s home opener against ETSU, but after Guarantano’s performance on Saturday, it will be tough to unseat him as the starter.