With the loss of three of the Vols’ four scholarship quarterbacks this past year, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones knew that it was of paramount importance to recruit well at the quarterback position heading into the 2015 season. Not only did Jones and the Tennessee coaching staff rise to the challenge, they landed arguably the top class of freshman quarterbacks in the entire nation for 2015. This group is comprised of three consensus 4-star recruits — Jauan Jennings, Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones. In the first of a three-part series featuring each of the freshman quarterbacks, here is a closer look at Dormady.
Dormady, a consensus 4-star recruit, was ranked as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the nation for 2015 per 247 Sports. The Boerne, Texas, native had an outstanding high school career amassing 5,903 passing yards and 59 touchdowns in just two seasons of varsity football at Boerne High School (pronounced Burnie). He threw for more than 3,000 yards, completing 61 percent of his passes in a sophomore campaign that landed him on the Texas all-state team as an honorable mention. A lofty achievement in the state of Texas for a first-year varsity quarterback. This also put him on the map as a player to watch among recruiting sites and coaches alike.
Unfortunately, Dormady would miss his entire junior season with a torn labrum. The injury would be a severe blow to his stock as a potentially elite college quarterback prospect, as high school football players tend to be evaluated most heavily in their junior seasons. Subsequently, Dormady would be left marginally rated by some recruiting services, while others failed to assign him any ranking at all heading into the all-important spring and summer camp circuit.
Dormady would rebound nicely with a stellar showing on the camp circuit, regaining much of the momentum he had lost following his injury. He would also garner an impressive offer sheet, which included the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, TCU and Oklahoma State to name a few.
On June 9, 2014, the rising quarterback would commit to a Tennessee coaching staff that never relented in its pursuit of the once “under the radar” Dormady. He would ultimately go on to a successful senior season in which he threw for 2,893 yards and 32 touchdowns, garnering the status of 4-star prospect, and a reputation as one of the better pro-style quarterbacks in the nation.
Dormady possesses all of the attributes that coaches fall in love with in a prototypical pocket passer. Size, arm strength, mechanics, accuracy and pocket presence are all characteristics that epitomize Dormady. He also is considered to be quite polished and intelligent for a quarterback his age, which stands to reason, considering that Dormady’s father, Mike, also was his head coach in high school.
The good news is that Dormady was able to enroll at Tennessee early for the spring semester along with fellow freshman signal-caller Jauan Jennings. This should prove beneficial to Dormady in the steep learning curve to which all freshman quarterbacks must adjust, especially in the SEC.
Even as a freshman, Dormady appears to have a solid grasp of the Tennessee playbook. It does not hurt that he played in a similar offense in high school, and as he demonstrated in the Vols’ annual Orange and White spring game, he also has the ability to read defenses at a level beyond his years. He completed five of his eight pass attempts for 98 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the exhibition.
If there is a knock on Dormady, it would be his lack of athleticism. A somewhat crucial component in a Tennessee offense that has proven to fare much better with a mobile quarterback. Dormady did rush for 261 yards and five touchdowns as a senior in high school, so it is not as if he has zero ability to run the football. But, he pales in that area in comparison to his freshman quarterback counterparts, Jennings and Sheriron Jones, with whom Dormady will compete for the backup job behind returning starter Joshua Dobbs.
While Dormady appears to hold a slight lead in the competition for the No. 2 spot behind Dobbs heading into fall camp, that lead could quickly be erased competing against the likes of Jennings and Jones, who are both consensus 4-star prospects in their own right. Jennings is a very elusive and athletic quarterback, who can make plays with his feet that Dormady cannot. And Jones, who just arrived on campus, may be the most balanced of the three in terms of being a true dual-threat quarterback.
The bottom line is this; the Vols need a polished passer who understands the offense first and foremost. For now, Dormady fits that bill better than his competition. He already has a slight edge on Jennings, and Jones will be at a distinct disadvantage by not competing in spring drills. Dormady will surely have his work cut out for him, but he has to be considered the odds-on favorite to land the backup role heading into the Sept. 5 opener against Bowling Green in Nashville.
— Written by Rob McVey, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McVey is a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan who loves singing “Rocky Top” every opportunity he gets. Follow him on Twitter @Rob_UTVOLS.
(Quinten Dormady photo courtesy of UTSports.com)