KNOXVILLE — This decade has tested the Volunteer faithful. Five losing seasons will do that. Still, plenty of talented players have still worn the Orange and White, some obviously more appreciated than others.
The question is: Who are the most underappreciated Vols?
Who are the most under appreciated Vol football players of all-time?
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) May 11, 2018
I posed that question on Twitter and here are the quarterbacks most UT fans mentoned.
Josh Dobbs (2013-2016: 7,138 passing yards, 53 TDs; 2,160 rushing yards, 32 TDs; 62 receiving yards, 2 TDs)
Dobbs was a 4-year starter for Butch Jones although he came in relief to finish the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Dobbs’ performance at South Carolina in 2014 helped pave the way in reaching a bowl game and then he guided Tennessee to back-to-back 9-win seasons in 2015 and 2016, defeating Georgia twice and Florida once and has the second most total yards in a UT career (9,936) behind only Peyton Manning.
Tyler Bray (2010-2012: 7,444 passing yards, 69 TDs; -207 rushing yards, 1 TD)
Bray stayed the course following Lane Kiffin’s departure to USC, less than a month before Bray signed his letter of intent. Bray became a 3-year starter during Derek Dooley’s tenure and had 12 300-yard passing games and holds four of the top seven individual passing games in UT history, including the most in one game with 530 passing yards (2012 vs. Troy).
Jonathan Crompton (2006-2009: 4,187 passing yards, 36 TDs; -16 rushing yards, 3 TDs)
Crompton’s success came during the last two months of his senior season in Kiffin’s one season as head coach. His turnaround began by defeating Georgia in a 310-yard, 4-touchdown performance and nearly upsetting No. 2 Alabama on a last-second field goal attempt on the road.
Erik Ainge (2004-2007: 8,700 passing yards, 72 TDs; -227 yards, 1 TD)
Ainge produced big numbers under offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe in 2006-2007. Ainge holds UT records for total passing touchdowns in a game (7), completions in a season (325) and passing attempts in a season (519).
Casey Clausen (2000-2003: 9,707 passing yards, 75 TDs; -130 rushing yards, 6 TDs)
Clausen was a road warrior with a 14-1 record and won at Florida and Alabama twice. Clausen holds the record for consecutive passes without throwing an interception (143).
2001 – Casey Clausen directs the band after victory in The Swamp. pic.twitter.com/xqEDXzQOA1
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) May 12, 2018
Tee Martin (1996-1999: 4,592 passing yards, 32 TDs; 614 rushing yards, 16 TDs)
Martin not only replaced Peyton Manning, but he did what Manning could not do in defeating Florida and winning the national championship. Martin holds the UT record for consecutive completions (24).
Heath Shuler (1991-1993: 4,089 passing yards, 36 TDs; 383 rushing yards, 14 TDs; 12 receiving yards)
Shuler left Tennessee following his junior 1993 season for the NFL and was the third overall pick. In 1993, Shuler finished second in the Heisman balloting behind Charlie Ward.
Andy Kelly replaced by Heath Shuler on Senior Day. pic.twitter.com/7cEBskjBxz
— Dan Harralson (@danharralson) May 15, 2018
Andy Kelly (1988-1991: 6,397 passing yards, 36 TDs; 30 rushing yards, 3 TDs)
Kelly took over the starting quarterback position for the Vols in the 1989 game against Alabama. Kelly and UT won back-to-back SEC championships in 1989 (shared) and 1990 and the Vols’ last Sugar Bowl appearance and victory in 1990.
Tony Robinson (1982-1985: 3,332 passing yards, 23 TDs; 187 rushing yards, 4 TDs)
Robinson was a 2-year starter and helped guide the Vols through the first half of the 1985 Vols SEC championship season. Robinson was a Heisman Trophy candidate before injuring his knee against Alabama in 1985.
Steve Alatorre (1980-1981: 1,918 passing yards, 13 TDs; 375 rushing yards, 6 TDs)
Alatorre transferred from junior college and played in 1980 and started in 1981, winning MVP honors in the 1981 Garden State Bowl against Wisconsin.