2016 QB familiar, impressed with Jones

InsideTennessee brings you the latest and best Tennessee Vols recruiting news. Scroll down to read a story on a class of 2016 quarterback the Vols have their eyes on.

When Butch Jones took the reins of the Tennessee football program, he hit the recruiting trail on a mission to educate.

The first-year coach had to enlighten prospects on everything from his background, coaching style and vision.

That wasn't the case with Jarrett Guarantano. The Class of 2016 quarterback was already plenty familiar with Jones.

Guarantano's father, Jim, played under Jones at Rutgers and is sixth all-time in both catches and receiving yards in school history.

The New Jersey native recalls hearing countless stories of Jones' intense, yet passionate ways from his father.

And the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder got to experience it first hand when he visited Knoxville for the first time back on Nov. 23.

"When we came down, we met with coach Butch right away and that was really great," Guarantano told IT. "As soon as coach and my father saw each other, they just hugged and starting talking and catching up like they saw each other a week ago or something. They picked up right where they left off.

"I really loved to see that. It just shows how much they care about each other and how much coach Butch really loves his players. He really cares. He's more than just a coach."

But Guarantano's familiarity with Tennessee's coaching staff doesn't stop at Jones.

The Bergen Catholic (N.J.) High School standout spent much time with Vols offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, who is a graduate of Bergen Catholic.

"I love coach Bajakian," Guarantano told IT. "I love the way he coaches. I love the way he made me feel like family. He's just a family man and a great coach. Everyone back home knows who he is."

While Guarantano didn't pick up a Tennessee offer during his visit, he said he'd be hearing from Bajakian this winter after he does more evaluating.

Film is scarce on Guarantano, as he didn't start his entire sophomore season. But it's been enough to impress big-time programs around the country.

Guarantano took unofficial visits to Georgia, Penn State and Maryland during the season. He claims a Rutgers offer and has received interest from USC, Notre Dame, Alabama and others

After his time on Rocky Top, Guarantano said Tennessee is among his still-young list of leaders.

"It was actually great. I loved being down there," Guarantano told IT. "I loved the atmosphere here. I loved the players and how they reacted to their coach. All around, it was just a really great visit."

Guarantano's favorite part of the visit was soaking in the Vol Walk.

"Just seeing how the fans really did love their players and adore them," he said. "They're very passionate about their team, which is always good to see."

Guarantano said keys in his recruitment will be a "great" game atmosphere, familiarity with the coaches and rich tradition.

Tennessee fits that billing to a "T."

"Tennessee really has everything I'm looking for. Like I said, I loved everything about the visit," Guarantano said. "The crowd was awesome and I love tradition. And you can't get much more tradition than down here. Peyton Manning, of course, one of my favorite quarterbacks. I would love to shadow everything he's done."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories