Jarrett Guarantano is the Tennessee Vols’ unquestioned starting quarterback in 2019.

He’s so entrenched as the starting quarterback, in fact, that head coach Jeremy Pruitt recently said Guarantano is the only player on the roster that currently has a starting spot locked down.

In a perfect world, Guarantano will take nearly every snap (except for garbage time) this season and lead the Vols to a seven or eight win season (or more).

But any college football fan knows those “perfect world” scenarios rarely work out.

That’s why backup quarterbacks are so important.

The Vols’ backup quarterback competition is between redshirt freshman JT Shrout and true freshman Brian Maurer.

It would be easy to anoint Shrout as the primary backup, simply because he’s been at Tennessee longer. He has more practice experience and even though he hasn’t played in an actual game, he’s been on the sideline for some big moments.

But I think Maurer would be the better option to serve as Guarantano’s main backup. And it’s mostly because of how Vols quarterbacks coach Chris Weinke described Maurer on Thursday.

Weinke pointed out to reporters that Shrout is a more analytical quarterback, while Maurer is more of a free spirit.

The former Heisman Trophy winner further explained Maurer’s personality by saying “(Maurer) can probably make more off-schedule throws. If it breaks down, he can run around and make a play.”

Weinke went on to say that Shrout is more “structured” in his approach and tends to stay in the pocket a bit more.

While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Shrout’s approach at all, I tend to think Maurer might have a little more of an “it” factor that could potentially propel Tennessee to a win if he were forced to relieve an injured Guarantano.

Plus, we don’t exactly know how improved the Vols’ offensive line will be in 2019. If it’s anything like last year, Tennessee will need a quarterback who can make some plays outside of the pocket.

At one time, Josh Dobbs was a third string freshman quarterback that proved to have a special ability to improvise. No one could’ve predicted how important Dobbs would be to Tennessee’s success during his four season on Rocky Top.

It’s certainly possible that Maurer could have a similar career arc in Knoxville.

Featured image via 247Sports