Tag Archives: Riley Ferguson

QB Quinten Dormady gives Vols pro-style passer in 2015 class

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeQuinten Dormady came to Knoxville over the weekend for what he thought be the first of many stops on a college tour through the South.

But when Tennessee made it clear that he not only had an offer, but it was an offer that coaches wanted — and needed — him to decide on soon, Dormady scaled back his decision to just two teams: Alabama and UT.

The decision gives the Vols a second quarterback in the 2015 class. (And Jauan Jennings has insisted that he is a quarterback, not an athlete or a safety).

Dormady’s arrival will also help replenish the depth at quarterback after Riley Ferguson‘s recent decision to transfer. Justin Worley will graduate after this season, leaving only Joshua Dobbs, Nathan Peterman and whoever UT signs in this class on the 2015 roster.

Given those numbers, and the questions about Jenning’s ultimate college position, could the Vols sneak a third quarterback into this class? It might be tough (or impossible) to snare another elite quarterback with two other potential competitors already committed. But maybe a late addition just before Signing Day? A late surprise (like Dobbs)? Or maybe even a wildcard from the junior college ranks?

There’s plenty of time left until February. Stay tuned.

With QB a priority, Vols in battle for 5-star Torrance Gibson

Torrance Gibson (photo by 247Sports, a KNS partner)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Riley Ferguson‘s departure has highlighted Tennessee’s need for another quarterback in the Class of 2015.

There are few bigger targets than dual-threat quarterback Torrance GibsonAuburn and Tennessee are leading the seven-team race for his signature. Helpfully, Gibson has been tweeting and blogging about the recruiting process.

247Sports recruiting analyst Ryan Callahan chatted about Gibson’s visit to Auburn in today’s installment of GVX Audio. Gibson could visit Tennessee as soon as this weekend, but Callahan said the race should continue for some time.

The Vols already have Jauan Jennings in the fold. He’s a four-star athlete from Murfreesboro who is being recruited by most schools as a quarterback. Many think he could also be an elite college safety.

Butch Jones wishes Riley Ferguson well, but focusing on current players

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If there’s even a sliver of hope that quarterback Riley Ferguson will return to the Tennessee football team, coach Butch Jones is doing nothing to encourage it.

Asked about Ferguson on Saturday night, Jones said “We wish him well,” but that he preferred to talk about the players who were on the team.

That does not include Ferguson.

UT could choose to place restrictions on Ferguson’s transfer, but I’m told no decision has been made on that front yet.

Ferguson hasn’t made a public statement (or tweet) since news of his departure became public, but the assumption is that he would like to join his brother at the start-up football program at UNC-Charlotte.

Tennessee’s offense after Riley Ferguson: QB’s departure is bad news for 2014

Riley Ferguson in an interview this spring (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeRiley Ferguson has been the perfect subject for that segment of the fan base prone to extreme and sudden swings of emotion.

A few weeks ago, according to some, he was the best the quarterback on the team. (His main qualification for that honor was that he was the only who had yet to take a college snap.)

Today, just as many contend that his departure is no big deal, and the Vols will be fine without him.

In fact, when he surprised coaches with the news that he didn’t plan to return to Knoxville, Ferguson still had a shot of winning the starting quarterback job. Despite a bumpy spring, I still think he had the best chance of any of the three competitors vying to unseat senior Justin Worley.

That’s what makes his departure so stunning. Coaches had invested a lot of time and effort into his development for a reason. They thought — and still think — he could be a good SEC quarterback. And now he appears to be ready to transfer to a lower-division team without even taking a snap?

Ferguson hasn’t returned a request for comment, so we haven’t heard his side of his decision to transfer. But he apparently indicated to coaches that he felt more comfortable back home.

Twitter myths notwithstanding, coaches didn’t “run off” Ferguson. They wanted him to stay. In fact, Butch Jones has carefully parsed every comment he makes about the quarterback situation with the express intent of discouraging anyone from transferring.

Ferguson did not arrive on campus with the same maturity as, say, Joshua Dobbs. Ferguson was high-maintenance. And he was certainly not out of quarterback central casting like his three other colleagues. But he had enough natural talent that coaches were to work with his strengths while they tried to fix his flaws.

If one quarterback seizes the reins of the offense this spring and stays healthy, Ferguson might be largely forgotten by November. But if the Vols suffer a rash of injuries  (like they did in 2013) or if none of the quarterbacks perform consistently (again, see 2013) then the loss of the inscrutable but talented Ferguson will really sting.

Tennessee spring football: Catching up on video, photos and .gifs from Day 3

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The Tennessee football doesn’t practice on Wednesday, and by the time the Vols return to action on Thursday, the temperature may have dropped from 72 to 32.

Bugs swarm around Haslam Field on Tuesday (photos by Evan Woodbery)

On a positive note, that might kill the bugs that plagued Tuesday’s practice. And, yes, I made a .gif of them, too.

For some much better photos, check out Adam Lai’s gallery here.

Butch Jones wasn’t entirely pleased with Tuesday’s practice, the first in full pads. He said some of the newcomers weren’t prepared for the pace. He called out one player for putting his hands on his hips — a big no-no in Jones’ world.

Beyond that, what conclusions can we draw through three practices — 20 percent of the spring total? Not a whole lot. All four quarterbacks are getting reps, and we’ve heard good things about Riley Ferguson. I would still be surprised if there’s a firm decision by the end of spring.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs throws a pass to Justus Pickett (photos by Evan Woodbery)

Running backs break down the huddle during practice (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Depth at the running back spot seems at least serviceable behind Marlin Lane and Jalen Hurd. That’s a good thing because two more scholarship backs are arriving this summer.

Emmanuel Moseley (photos by Evan Woodbery)

In the secondary, coaches clearly like Emmanuel Moseley a lot and are grooming the freshman for a big role in 2014. He’s working as the “first team” cornerback now, with Justin Coleman working at nickel.

Multimedia review of Tennessee spring football, Day 1 (videos, photos)

Tennessee quarterback Riley Ferguson (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — We spoke to Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt for the first time in eight months and quarterback Riley Ferguson (left) for the first time ever after Friday’s practice at Haslam Field.

You can read more about those two key players on GoVolsXtra, which has tons of content from today, some free and some only for subscribers.

While you’re here, however, check out my photos, the full gallery and some great videos from Erin Chapin.

The Vols only have a few hours off before going back for Day 2. Tennessee practices at 9:20 a.m. on Saturday. Practices are closed to the public.

Tennessee spring practice 2014: The quarterbacks

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With spring practice less than a week away, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: The quarterbacks.

Tennessee quarterbacks in practice (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee used three of its four quarterbacks this year, so perhaps it’s predictable that the one quarterback who didn’t play is the fan favorite to win the job in 2014.

Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson does, in fact, have a strong chance of earning the No. 1 spot, but the race should be every bit as wide open as it was over the summer.

Justin Worley, who will be a senior, had two solid games in October when the Vols were playing their best. Joshua Dobbs got valuable experience after Worley was hurt. Nathan Peterman will have to overcome a rough performance at Florida.

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Tennessee football position preview: Quarterback battle is wide open

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The fourth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in three months.

Tennessee quarterbacks in practice (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee used three of its four quarterbacks this year, so perhaps it’s predictable that the one quarterback who didn’t play is the fan favorite to win the job in 2014.

Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson does, in fact, have a strong chance of earning the No. 1 spot, but the race should be every bit as wide open as it was over the summer.

Justin Worley, who will be a senior, had two solid games in October when the Vols were playing their best. Joshua Dobbs got valuable experience after Worley was hurt. Nathan Peterman will have to overcome a rough performance at Florida.

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A look at Tennessee’s 2013 class: Who played, who will take a redshirt (chart)

Receiver Johnathon Johnson goes up for a catch during warmups at Missouri earlier this year (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Two members of Tennessee’s 2013 class played in all 12 games this year.

One is easy to guess. The other is much more difficult.

Freshman cornerback Cameron Sutton was likely the most pleasant surprise of the hastily assembled 2013 class, starting every game and emerging as perhaps the Vols’ most trusted defensive back.

Who also played in every game? Freshman safety Lemond Johnson was a special teams regular, despite (as far as I can tell) not playing a single snap on defense.

(Note: Freshman walk-on Devaun Swafford also played in all 12 games. Thanks to @donnieconley for the catch).

Receivers Marquez North, Josh Smith and Johnathon Johnson also played important roles in 2013. Some who I expected to have a major impact — like tight end Woody Quinn and cornerback Riyahd Jones hardly played at all.

As Tennessee welcomes a huge signing class in 2014, it’s worth remembering how difficult it is project freshman performance. Even arriving early is no guarantee of success. Of the five players who enrolled early and went through spring practice in 2013, only one made an impact beyond special teams. That would be defensive end Corey Vereen.

 Who can take a redshirt?

Officially, six players did not take a snap and are eligible for a redshirt season: Offensive linemen Brett Kendrick and Austin Sanders, defensive ends Malik Brown and Kendal Vickers, quarterback Riley Ferguson and receiver Ryan Jenkins.

Jenkins is battling a worrisome chronic injury, so it will be interesting to see how or if he responds in spring. The linemen weren’t needed immediately and got a chance to bulk up and work out during the season. Ferguson was on call until the very end, but ultimately survived the season with his redshirt intact.

In theory, there are two more defensive linemen who would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver — sometimes called a medical redshirt — if they sustained documented injuries during the season. Jason Carr and Jaylen Miller played in only three games (all during the first half of the season).

I’m not sure UT intends to request waivers for either player, however, because coaches didn’t “sell” the hypothetical “injuries” very aggressively during the year. In fact, Carr was even mentioned as a possible option to play late in the year.

We’ll find out soon enough whether Carr and Miller enter 2014 as sophomores or redshirt freshmen.

 

Name High school Position 247Sports Composite rating Games played Games started
Marquez North Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) WR 0.9574 11 11
Joshua Dobbs Alpharetta (Alpharetta, Ga.) QB 0.9276 5 4
Jason Carr White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) DL 0.9197 3 0
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) S/LB 0.9051 11 0
Ryan Jenkins Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) WR 0.8832 0 0
Austin Sanders Bradley Central (Cleveland, Tenn.) OL 0.8793 0 0
Riley Ferguson Butler (Matthews, N.C.) QB 0.8741 0 0
Paul Harris Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) WR 0.868 5 0
Corey Vereen West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.) DE 0.8678 9 0
Lemond Johnson Cooper City (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) S 0.8656 12 0
Cameron Sutton Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) CB 0.8625 12 12
Jaylen Miller Gaffney (Gaffney, S.C.) DL 0.8566 3 0
A.J. Branisel Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School (Chardon, Ohio) TE 0.8503 10 0
Johnathon Johnson Friendswood (Friendswood, Texas) WR 0.84 10 2
Malik Brown Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) DE 0.8387 0 0
Dylan Wiesman Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) OL 0.8352 10 0
Brett Kendrick Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) OL 0.8296 0 0
Malik Foreman Dobyns Bennett (Kingsport, Tenn.) CB 0.829 9 0
Riyahd Jones Carver High (Columbus, Ga.) CB 0.8262 2 0
Josh Smith Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) WR 0.821 11 4
Woody Quinn St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) TE 0.8091 2 0
Kendal Vickers Havelock (Havelock, N.C.) DE 0.7997 0 0
Jabo Lee Dillon High (Dillon, S.C.) RB

Butch Jones offers no doubt: With 1 game left, this is Joshua Dobbs’ show

Butch Jones in Monday’s press conference (photos by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Freshman Joshua Dobbs will finish the season as Tennessee’s top quarterback, Vols coach Butch Jones said Monday.

Once spring begins, however, the four-man competition is back on.

Jones confirmed during a speech before the Knoxville Quarterback Club later Monday that Riley Ferguson, the Vols’ other freshman quarterback, fractured his tibia before the Alabama game.

Jones had previously acknowledged Ferguson’s injury, but not described its extent.

Even now, Jones said Ferguson is only “85 percent” healthy.

Josh Dobbs warms up before the Vanderbilt game (photo by Evan Woodbery)

What about redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman? He had a disastrous debut at Florida earlier this season and injured his thumb. But he’s back and appears healthy. Could he play against Kentucky?

“Joshua Dobbs will be our starting quarterback,” Jones replied.

Dobbs completed 11 of 19 passes for 53 yards against Vanderbilt. He threw two interceptions in the first half.

“I thought Saturday he showed his age a little bit,” Jones said. “Everything was kind of happening very fast for him.”