Justin Worley wins starting QB job with Tennessee Volunteers

Justin Worley_130825_Wide

Justin Worley has won a four-way battle for Tennessee's starting quarterback job and will be under center when the Volunteers host Austin Peay in the opener on Saturday, ESPN reported Sunday.

Worley, a junior, beat out three inexperienced quarterbacks for the job: redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman and true freshmen Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson.

The Volunteers were looking for someone to replace Tyler Bray, who left school early after last season and went undrafted. He signed a rookie free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason and is currently in a battle himself for the Chiefs' third-string QB job.

Backing up Bray over the past two seasons, Worley played in nine games, completing 57 percent of his attempts (63 of 110) for 738 yards, a touchdown and five interceptions.

Earlier this month, coach Butch Jones said he wanted to name a starter early in camp. "If someone comes in and distances themselves and really takes hold of this football team and is their leader, we're going to name a starting quarterback. I'm not an individual who likes to play a number of quarterbacks."

The fact it took this long for Jones to select a starter in a competition that included only one player with college playing experience likely means Worley never distanced himself from the others. It probably also means Worley's job is anything but safe.

One thing in Worley's favor is he will be working with a veteran offensive line that is considered one of the nation's best. We'll see if that's good enough against a rugged SEC schedule that also includes Oregon.

Follow Andy Fenelon on Twitter @Andy_Fenelon

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