Tennessee’s quarterback situation is pretty simple. There’s an experienced, talented senior ready to take up where the last guy left off. Then, there’s the talented phenom who is waiting in the wings.
Whether or not that is championship worthy remains to be seen. However, barring something unforeseen, there won’t be complicated decisions to be made. If Joe Milton III struggles, he can only be replaced by Nico Iamaleava. It would be asking far too much for walk-on Gaston Moore to lead the Vols to a title. Also, for the sake of practice time, Milton will take the majority of first-team snaps followed by Iamaleava. If the Vols prove championship worthy this season, it will likely be Milton leading the way.
That’s not the case at the other SEC schools hoping to hoist a trophy in 2023. Alabama just took in a transfer, former Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner, during the spring transfer portal after its coaching staff managed a very questionable pair of signal callers in Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson during spring practice.
As for other teams with title aspirations, Georgia has to replace one of the most legendary players in its long, distinct history. Stetson Bennett overcame being a walk-on, a transfer and a player constantly on the hot seat to win two national titles. He was questioned throughout his career and answered everyone of those questions in grand fashion.
Carson Beck appears to be the next man up with Bennett gone. Beck has some strong intangible qualities. He is considered one of the hardest workers on the team, but is considered a pure pocket passer. Bennett excelled at making plays on the ground, especially later in his career. Brock Vandagriff is also in the running, but it looks like Beck will start the season.
Other teams with championship inspirations, like Ohio State and Penn State, are looking for replacements at quarterback. Kyle McCord and Devin Brown are trying to be the next Buckeye signal caller after Sean Clifford departed. Drew Allar is believed to be the starter as long as he fends off a pair of freshmen: Beau Pribula and Jason Smoli.
As for programs reaching for a championship with a new quarterback at the helm, it’s hard to imagine a better situation than Georgia. Penn State is close behind. However, Alabama and Ohio State have some serious questions to answer before fall camp. That leaves Tennessee.
The Vols have the best possible quarterback situation imaginable other than having a returning starter. Why? Milton was willing to stay at Tennessee while Hooker led the way because of the Vols’ exciting offense and a Brady Bunch like culture in Knoxville.
Sure, there are still questions about Milton. However, there is no question that the Vols wouldn’t trade their quarterback situation for the ones still simmering at Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State.
Tennessee has seen a quarterback controversy derail a season. That can be disastrous. The good news? It’s seems extremely unlikely to happen this fall. Some other championship contenders can’t say the same.