Tennessee football quarterback J.T. Shrout enters NCAA transfer portal
"After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided to enter the transfer portal and explore all my options moving forward for the next three years," Shrout wrote on Twitter.
Shrout completed 24 of 42 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions in four games in 2020. He split time with Harrison Bailey in the final three games, as coach Jeremy Pruitt indicated the Vols were "looking for the future" at quarterback.
Bailey started each of the final three games.
Bailey and Brian Maurer are the only scholarship quarterbacks currently on Tennessee's roster. The Vols signed four-star quarterback Kaidon Salter on Dec. 16. Salter, from powerhouse Cedar Hill (Texas), is enrolling in January.
Shrout entered the 2020 season as Tennessee's backup quarterback. Pruitt turned to Shrout against Kentucky on Oct. 10 after Guarantano committed his third turnover when threw his second pick-six of the first half.
Shrout only threw one pass, which was picked off. He was pulled and seemingly relegated to the bottom of the depth chart until late November. He earned shared playing time with Bailey after Tennessee moved on from Guarantano, who had a turbulent final season at Tennessee.
After Tennessee lost to Florida on Dec. 5, Shrout did not indicate if he has considered transferring from Tennessee.
“I am just worried about this season right now and competing with the boys,” Shrout said.
Tennessee won both games in which Shrout was the primary quarterback in 2019.
Shrout threw for 179 yards and a touchdown on 13-for-27 passing in four games in 2019. He started against UAB and essentially was the starter against South Carolina a week earlier. He came in on the second offensive snap of the game after Jauan Jennings ran a play from the wildcat on the opening snap against the Gamecocks.
Shrout signed with Tennessee as a three-star prospect from Hart High in Santa Clarita, Calif. Cal was his only other Power 5 offer, but former Vols offensive coordinator Tyson Helton keyed on Shrout after Pruitt was hired at UT in December 2017.
"I would like to thank coach Pruitt and his staff for giving this California kid a chance to play football for this amazing university and compete in the SEC," Shrout wrote.
Shrout is the sixth Vol to enter the transfer portal in December, joining Guarantano, tight end Austin Pope, wide receiver Brandon Johnson, tight end Jordan Allen and outside linebacker Kivon Bennett.
Entering the portal does not mean a player is definitely transferring, but it is a first step that allows other coaches to contact the player. The transfer portal went into effect last fall.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.