Rising redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Ferguson is reportedly seeking to transfer out of the Tennessee football program, sources confirmed on Tuesday.
The former three-star quarterback commitment out of Matthews, N.C. was projected to be a real contender for the starting position this fall. After an up-and-down spring camp most felt Ferguson would be the No. 2 guy behind rising senior Justin Worley, but also felt that he was just a few consistent practices in the fall away from being the Vols’ first freshman quarterback starter in the season-opener since Brent Schaffer in 2004.
While nothing is 100 percent official, many believe Ferguson will leave to go back home and play for the local UNC-Charlotte 49ers. He and his family hail from the Charlotte-Matthews area, and his brother, Zach Ferguson, plays wide receiver for the 49ers.
Where will this leave the Vols as far as the quarterback position? Well, there’s actually not much to worry about in that department even with Ferguson’s departure.
Tennessee still returns three quarterbacks who all saw some sort of playing time one year ago. Worley was the starter for most of the season until giving way to rising sophomore Josh Dobbs due to a thumb injury suffered against Alabama. The Vols will also return Nathan Peterman, who started against Florida but was benched shortly before halftime due to an injury suffered to his throwing hand.
The Vols will also welcome local Knoxville-native Mike Wegzyn who is transferring in from UMass, who runs a similar style offense to that of Butch Jones.
However, barring a spectacular start to fall camp by Dobbs, Peterman, or Wegzyn, Worley is anticipated to be named the Vols starting quarterback to kickoff the 2014 season against Utah State on Aug. 31
Tennessee is also atop the list for current five-star quarterback recruit Torrance Gibson out of Planatation, Fla. The No. 2 quarterback in the nation has offers from nearly every school in the nation, but announced a few weeks ago on a local Tennessee radio station that the Vols are at the top of his list.
Although losing Ferguson will undoubtedly be a hit for the Vols, it will be a minor hit that they’ll have to absorb, especially compared to all the hits the program has already suffered over the past decade.
For more Tennessee football news, check out the team page here.