QB Jarrett Guarantano Leading Vols Player Contingent at SEC Media Days


(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Senior linebacker Daniel Bituli, redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Guarantano and redshirt senior outside linebacker Darrell Taylor will join Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt as the Vols’ representatives at SEC Media Days this Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala.

Tennessee will make the media rounds in the afternoon at the Wynfrey Hotel. ESPN and the SEC Network will have live coverage of the four-day event, which begins on Monday, while Tennessee football’s official social media accounts (@Vol_Football on twitter and instagram) will provide updates during Tennessee’s media session.

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Tennessee’s trio of players will be making their first appearance at SEC Media Days. However, they are all well-known to Vol fans and the SEC as returning starters.

Bituli led Tennessee in tackles (79) for the second straight season from his inside linebacker position in 2018. A native of the Congo, he also totaled 6.5 tackles for loss last fall. For his career, he has notched 178 total stops, 9.5 TFLs and one interception over 33 games. Bituli had 23 tackles in the 2017 season-opener – the most tackles by a Power 5 player in a single-game that season.

Guarantano started all 12 games at quarterback in 2018, passing for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns with just three interceptions. The Lodi, N.J., native broke the school record for consecutive passes without an interception (166). He was named SEC Player of the Week and National Player of the Week by several organizations following his 328-yard, two-touchdown performance in UT’s 30-24 upset at No. 21 Auburn. Guarantano was recently called an “under-the-radar” player for 2019 by ESPN after he was one of the nation’s top signal-callers in the face of a pass rush in 2018. He completed 57 percent of his passes at nine yards per attempt when under pressure according to ESPN.

Taylor’s eight sacks in 2018 are the most of any returning player in the SEC. The Waverly, Va., native added 11.0 tackles for loss and 36 total stops as an outside linebacker. Taylor was one of only two Power 5 players to notch two three-sack games in 2018. He had a three-sack game at No. 2 Georgia, adding a pair of forced fumbles against the Bulldogs. Additionally, Taylor notched four sacks in the 24-7 upset win over No. 11 Kentucky, becoming just the third Vol with four sacks in a game all-time. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week and won several national defensive awards following his performance against the Wildcats.

The Tennessee Volunteer football team kicks off year two of the Jeremy Pruitt era at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 31 when Georgia State comes to Neyland Stadium.