Tennessee Football: Who Are Tyler Bray's Possible Replacements at Quarterback?

Randy ChambersAnalyst IDecember 21, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 12:   Quarterback Justin Worley #14 of the Tennessee Volunteers throws a pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Volunteers 49 to 7.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, Tennessee will now be looking for a new starting quarterback. Tyler Bray has decided to test the market in the NFL and will not return for his senior season in a Tennessee Volunteer uniform.

A team that has already lost a few playmakers and has undergone major coaching changes will now have to find a new leader of the offense.

This move is somewhat surprising and leaves the program with some serious questions heading into a long offseason. The problem is that there are a few candidates, but every one of them is lacking true experience on the field.

The quarterback race should be wide open heading into the spring, giving new head coach Butch Jones a bunch of fresh meat to work with.

Here are the three guys that could replace Bray next season.


Justin Worley

If Tennessee had to name a starter right this second, Worley would be the guy.

He is the only quarterback that has any type of collegiate experience, as he has played off and on throughout the last two seasons. He threw 23 passes this year and completed 65 percent, while also throwing two interceptions.

Despite not having much playing time, former head coach Derek Dooley was still considering giving Worley significant minutes when Bray was struggling late in the year.

Worley was a 3-star recruit back in the 2011 class and is known for his leadership on and off the field. He is your typical pocket passing quarterback that stands tall in the pocket at 6'4" and 213 pounds and throws the ball with great accuracy.

He has the look of a top quarterback and the experience going for him to make him the favorite to replace Bray. However, he will have to compete with two other talented quarterbacks who will also be competing for playing time.


Nathan Peterman

Peterman was a 3-star recruit in the 2012 class and received a redshirt this season. He broke several records back in high school, and his 36 touchdown passes is good for second all-time in St. Johns County, Florida.

He shouldn't be considered a dual-threat quarterback, but he is somebody who has good presence in the pocket and can buy himself extra time. This does give Peterman an advantage over Worley, who is more of a statue when standing in the pocket. He has great arm strength and always keeps his eyes down field when scrambling, which is always a plus in my book.

Peterman is also known for his quick release and is a quarterback who wants to get the ball out of there quickly. He makes his reads and delivers a quick strike to his receiver, with a ball that is thrown with great velocity.

Considering his lack of overall experience at the quarterback position, you have to believe Peterman will be given a fair shot to win the starting job next season.


Riley Ferguson

If you want a quarterback that would remind you the most of Bray, you are looking at true-freshman Ferguson. The 4-star recruit gave his commitment to Tennessee earlier in the year and even with the coaching changes, he has decided that he will remain with the program.

His comparisons to the former Tennessee quarterback come from his overload in confidence. This is somebody that can take you up and down the field on a good day, or he can make extremely questionable decisions with the ball and force interceptions. It really all depends on what type of rhythm he gets into.

Much like Peterman, some of Ferguson's other traits are his strong arm and ability to move around in the pocket. He is very athletic and can make plays with his legs, but he forces passes on the run and can become a little wild at times.

Still, he is a top recruit in the 2013 class for a reason; he can make plays.

We just saw a freshman win the Heisman Trophy at the quarterback position. Since there is no clear cut front-runner for the starting job, Ferguson should be in the mix to possibly start from day one on campus.