Former Tennessee quarterback J.T. Shrout. Photo via Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics Communications.
While the 2023 Tennessee football team is gearing up for the season opener on Saturday in Nashville, former head coach Butch Jones has named a familiar face as the starting quarterback at Arkansas State.
According to the Red Wolves’ official game-one depth chart, former Vols quarterback J.T. Shrout will be Arkansas State’s starting quarterback this week against Oklahoma.
“I first want to state this,” Jones said via RedWolfReport on YouTube. “We call it an organizational chart. Everywhere I’ve been, we’ve called it an org chart. Everybody’s considered on a thing called a depth chart. Really, that doesn’t mean anything in today’s world of football. That’s like something that people talked about 20 years ago, 15 years ago. All that means is who’s going to take the first rep. You know, I know coach Saban’s made a big deal of it, but most coaches do. Because you need, as we found out, you need more than 11 individuals on both sides of the ball to play winning football. That’s been one of our challenges here is how could we grow our competitive and our quality of depth. But in terms of the quarterback situation, J.T. Shrout will start the game and we’ll see how that goes.”
Jones also noted “a little more consistency” and “some game experience” as some of the factors that led the staff to this decision, along with Shrout doing some things differently offensively.
Jones took over the head coaching position at Arkansas State prior to the 2021 football season. Shrout, on the other hand, transferred to Arkansas State this past offseason after spending the previous season at the University of Colorado. Shrout played in nine games for the Buffaloes during the 2022 season and threw for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns on 90 completions.
Arkansas State @astatefb organizational chart for Oklahoma game. pic.twitter.com/Ai3Cm2x8gB
— AStateNation (@AStateNation) August 29, 2023
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Prior to his one season in Colorado, Shrout was on the Tennessee roster from 2018 to 2021. Shrout made appearances in eight games and started one game as a redshirt freshman during the 2019 season. Shrout threw for 494 yards and five touchdowns on 37-of-69 passing during his two active seasons at Tennessee in 2019 and 2020.
Butch Jones’ five-year tenure at Tennessee came to a close prior to Shrout’s arrival. Jones was fired from Tennessee in November 2017 while the Vols didn’t even offer Shrout until December 13, 2017, according to 247 Sports.
So despite the two not crossing paths at Tennessee, redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Shrout and third-year head coach Butch Jones will look to lead Arkansas State this season after the Red Wolves only mustered a record of 5-19 over the past two seasons.