Player Profile: Quarterback Brian Maurer
Position: Pro-Style Quarterback
Jersey Number: 18
Weight: 195 Pounds
Hometown: Ocala, Florida
High School: West Port High School
As A Recruit
Despite only being rated as the 19th best pro-style quarterback in the nation and a 3-star recruit by 247Sports, Brian Maurer raised a lot of eyebrows during his time at West Port High. During his career in Ocala, he finished with 7,664 yards and 64 touchdowns — a stat that broke Marion County’s record. The Elite 11 quarterback also broke his county’s record for passing in a single season as a senior, throwing for 3,543 yards and 34 touchdowns.
As a result of his on-field talent, Maurer was able to attract numerous athletically prestigious universities during his recruitment, including Florida, Texas A&M, and UCF. However, Maurer’s recruitment ended up coming down to Ohio State, West Virginia, and Tennessee. With all 3 schools heavily pursuing the under-the-radar prospect, Maurer’s faith in Tennessee's program ended up putting the Vols over the top. During Maurer’s recruitment, he had a very strong relationship with offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, however, Helton would later leave the Volunteers to become the head coach at Western Kentucky. Maurer responded to the news by reassuring Tennessee fans that he was committed to the program, rather than a coach. “I committed to the program, not the coordinator,” Maurer said in an interview with Fox Sports Knoxville’s Trey Wallace. “(Coach) Pruitt will meet with me and my family on Thursday.”
As A Player
Maurer’s decision to stick with the program despite one of his coaches leaving is one that would later pay off, as he would have the opportunity to earn playing time for the Vols as a freshman. When redshirt junior Jarrett Guarantano got off to a rocky start after suffering losses to Georgia State, Brigham Young, and Florida, the Vols looked as though they were a lost cause. Jeremy Pruitt then had no choice other than to turn to Maurer or redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Shrout to start against Georgia.
Pruitt ultimately decided to give the keys to Maurer, which was a controversial decision at the time. Some Vol Fans didn’t want to throw Maurer into the Lion’s Den against the Bulldogs and preferred to wait until the following week when Tennessee met up against Mississippi State, a much more mellow opponent. Others claimed that Maurer was going to have to play high caliber SEC opponents at some point, so why not let him get his feet wet?
Pruitt, who was under pressure at the time, decided to take the risk and give Maurer a shot. At times, there was no doubt that Maurer had potential, but at others his lack of experience as a freshman really showed. He finished the match-up against UGA 14-28 for 259 yards and two touchdowns, which wasn't enough to tame the Dawgs, but was certainly enough for Tennessee fans to find hope in him.
Maurer would go on to start again the following week against Mississippi State. Unfortunately, his performance this time around was cut short after being popped up into the air causing his head to slam into the turf. It was later revealed that Maurer had suffered a concussion, and as a result, he would not be able to play in the Vols’ next two match-ups against Alabama and South Carolina.
Maurer still played after he suffered the concussion, but struggled at times. He made a trip to Vanderbilt Medical Center to get checked out, and had the green light to play against UAB. Despite the thumbs up, Tennessee’s J.T. Shrout got his second chance starting. Maurer made appearances against Kentucky and Indiana, but was not able to create much momentum, leaving Jarrett Guarantano to re-earn his starting job, and ultimately lead the Vols to a victory in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
Maurer finished his first season with the Vols with 541 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Despite the disappointing stat line, many suggest that Maurer could take a major step forward in the future if offensive coordinator Jim Chaney can continue to work with him about protecting the football.
What Comes Next?
Maurer has a lot of tough competition to beat out if he was to start for Tennessee next season. For starters, he’d have to beat out the defending starter and redshirt senior Jarrett Guarantano, then he’d need to outperform Tennessee’s elite freshman quarterback Harrison Bailey while holding off redshirt sophomore J.T. Shrout, Maryland transfer Kasim Hill, and mobile threat Jimmy Holiday.
Needless to say, Tennessee has a ton of depth at the quarterback position, and if they can sign current 2021 commit Kaidon Salter then, the room would only become more cramped. Despite this deep depth chart, Maurer praised the relationship he had with his teammates back in October. “There’s no competition,” Maurer told 247Sports. “Whoever gets the job done (will start), and (then the) team wins.
However, if Maurer was to wind up winning the job for the Vols, he’d start off in September against the Charlotte 49ers, who will be looking to achieve what Georgia State did last season. He’d then head west to Norman and attempt to outscore Oklahoma’s elite offense, before heading back to Knoxville to take on Furman.
The Volunteers then remain in Knoxville to take on Florida in an epic rivalry game as they enter the meat of their SEC schedule. Tennessee then takes on Missouri in Knoxville, and South Carolina in Columbia, before returning home to Rocky Top for the Third Saturday in October. They then head west yet again to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks before meeting up with Kentucky back in Knoxville. They’ll finish off with Georgia in Athens, then Troy, and finally Vanderbilt on Rocky Top for the season finale. It would by no means be an easy path to success for the young quarterback, but with his potential and determination, you can never count Brian Maurer out.