By Alex Norman
Quinten Dormady came to Tennessee in the first week of January in 2015, an early enrollee from Boerne, Texas. He was a 4-star recruit, considered to be one of the top 10 Pro Style quarterbacks in the nation.
He had offers from Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, and even Alabama. But in the end decided that Knoxville was the place he wanted to be.
“It feels like home, that’s one of the biggest things that brought me here,” Dormady told UTSports.com. “The people here are always welcoming. The coaches and players are here for you, the whole staff around this place has been amazing.”
He was the son of a high school coach, Mike Dormady. His upbringing and work ethic prepared him for the possibility of being called on to see some action right away as a true freshman.
“That’s how every quarterback needs to be going in the meeting room every day,” said Dormady. “You’re thinking that you’re going to have the chance to play at any given moment.”
Considering that Tennessee had been forced to start three quarterbacks during each of Jones’ first two years at UT, this was a good call on his part.
Dormady was recruited mainly by offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, but couldn’t have been pleased when Bajakian resigned to become the quarterbacks coach with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers only a couple of weeks after enrolling.
Instead of Bajakian, Mike DeBord would be Dormady’s offensive coordinator.
For two seasons, Dormady watched as Josh Dobbs led Tennessee to 18 victories. Dobbs became as ironman in an offense that isn’t kind to quarterback. Dobbs started every game in 2015 and 2016, leaving Dormady in mop up roles. He played in ten games, throwing only 39 passes. 24 of those throws were complete for 357 yards.
He was biding his time, waiting the opportunity to lead the Vols.
Dormady got that chance in 2017. He beat out redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano for the starting job, and took the first snaps for the Vols on Labor Day evening in Atlanta against Georgia Tech.
But Dormady wasn’t as fortunate as Dobbs. He didn’t have Jalen Hurd or Alvin Kamara to hand the football. He didn’t have Josh Malone or Jason Croom to throw the football. And when Jauan Jennings went down with a dislocated wrist in the first half against the Yellow Jackets, Dormady was suddenly a man with few skill player options.
Yes, John Kelly was in the backfield and Marquez Callaway was running routes, but other than those guys he had either support from players with a limited skillset (Josh Smith, Ethan Wolf) or young, unproven teammates (Josh Palmer, Brandon Johnson).
Making matters worse, Dormady simply didn’t want to run, and in that Butch Jones offense, the quarterback has to be mobile. In his first five games of the 2017 season, Dormady only ran the football ten times.
Dormady led Tennessee to a comeback win over Georgia Tech, but was mediocre in a loss to Florida and a win over UMass. He would be benched after a crushing loss to Georgia. On his last play as a Vol, he had to go in against South Carolina after Guarantano had his helmet. Ironically enough, he kept the football and rushed for 13 yards.
Dormady would have shoulder surgery and be done for the season. He wasn’t nearly 100 percent and his play proved that.
Last week, Dormady took to twitter to announce his future plans. He thanked the UT program, but announced that he was moving on, saying in part…
“After weeks of reflection, I’ve decided to complete my degree from Tennessee and transfer for my final year of eligibility. I am excited as I look to the future and toward a new opportunity… my goal is to work my way back to the game as a post graduate quarterback – stronger, sharper, ready to compete and be a good teammate. That is my single focus at the moment.”
Dormady could have stuck around and competed with Guarantano for the starting spot under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt, but decided that a transition year wasn’t for him.
Looking back, this really wasn’t the right fit for Dormady. The offense didn’t fit his skill set, and Dobbs’ ability to stay healthy kept him from getting many well needed reps.
Hopefully, he will find what he’s looking for, in what will be his final year playing college football.