Top 5 Tennessee QBs of all-time
Tennessee’s list of Top 10 quarterbacks is nearly as impressive as this Top 5, making it very difficult to ascertain the final spots. The Vols have had tons of very good quarterbacks and a few great ones.
Here are our picks for the five best all-time.
5. Condredge Holloway (1971-74): “The Artful Dodger” the Montreal Expos drafted Holloway No. 4 overall as a shortstop out of high school in ’71. Holloway turned down MLB to become the first black starting quarterback in the SEC as a two-sport standout for the Vols. He directed UT to the Astro-Bluebonnet Gator and Liberty Bowls in three seasons as a starter, throwing just 12 interceptions in 407 passes. Holloway completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 3,102 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career and added nearly 1,000 more yards and nine scores on the ground. He remains a popular figure in Knoxville.
4. Tee Martin (1996-99): How often does the quarterback following an all-time legend arguably accomplish more on the field? Martin backed up Peyton Manning in ’96 and ’97, then led the ’98 team to an unbelievable 13-0 record and a BCS national championship, breaking the NCAA record for consecutive completions in the process (24). The next year, Martin again led the Vols to a BCS bowl game. He went 6-0 against Alabama, Georgia and Auburn during his career, then played for four NFL seasons before becoming a coach.
3. Bobby Dodd (1928-30): Granted, he played under legendary coach General Robert Neyland with one of the most dominant defenses ever behind him, but Dodd helped the Vols to a 27-1-2 record as a starter, twice earning All-Southern Conference honors and making the Grantland Rice All-American team in ’30. “The Dodger” doubled as the team’s punter, sometimes carried the ball and also intercepted several passes on defense. His sophomore year against Alabama, he threw a touchdown pass to tie the game, 13-13, punted out of bounds inside the 1-yard line and then recorded a safety for a 15-13 win. Tennessee faithful developed a slogan for him, “In Dodd We Trust.” He then became a successful coach at Georgia Tech.
2. Heath Shuler (1990-93): Before becoming an NFL bust and a member of the United States House of Representatives, Shuler was an all-time great quarterback for the Tennessee Vols. A two-year starter, Shuler broke most of the school passing records in ’92 and ’93, posing a threat as a runner as well. He finished those two years with 4,089 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing touchdowns, one year reaching 2,000 passing yards in just 331 total plays. An All-SEC selection as a junior, the standout from Bryson City, N.C., later was named to an All-SEC team for the 1990s by a group of sportswriters. He also finished second to Florida State’s Charlie Ward in the ’93 Heisman Trophy voting.
1. Peyton Manning (1994-97): One can argue Manning’s place among all-time great NFL quarterbacks, but at Tennessee, he’s the unquestioned best ever. Robbed of the Heisman Trophy in 1997 by Michigan’s Charles Woodson, Manning still led the Vols to an SEC championship and probably deserves some credit for setting up the ’98 national title that Martin won. Manning earned All-American honors for an incredible three years, throwing for 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns. He finished 39-6 as a starter with the Vols, and left Knoxville with all sorts of SEC and NCAA records in addition to those that still stand at UT. He threw for more than 3,000 yards twice, and became the No. 1 overall pick of the ’98 draft ahead of Ryan Leaf.