Tyler Bray: Tennessee Volunteers QB Makes Statement in Opener vs. NC State

Kyle Casey@@kylecasey094Correspondent IIISeptember 1, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31:  Tyler Bray #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers rolls out of the pocket against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Georgia Dome on August 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the wild-card quarterbacks in college football is University of Tennessee QB Tyler Bray. 

The evaluations of Bray seem to differ by almost every college football and draft expert who studies him. Some say he is a dark-horse Heisman candidate and a top-tier NFL draft prospect, while others think he is a second- or third-round pick at best.

Bray's arm strength is second to none in the SEC, and he has all the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. But his footwork is below average, and he struggles not to stare down his receivers.

Regardless of his NFL capability, one thing is for certain: Bray made a statement in Tennessee's victory on Friday against North Carolina State.

Playing against a very good N.C. State pass defense, Bray stole the show.

He started off by throwing right at N.C. State's star cornerback, David Amerson. Amerson, who is widely considered the top cornerback in the country, had trouble defending the deep ball. Bray noticed that and went right at him.

For the game as a whole, the junior quarterback completed 27-of-41 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns as the Volunteers defeated the Wolfpack, 35 to 21.

After completing just 50 percent of his passes in the first quarter, Bray went on to complete over 70 percent of his passes for the rest of the game.

He still showed the poor footwork that needs improvement, but he also showed that his impressive arm strength can cancel out that footwork.

The 2012 season will be an uphill battle for Bray, as he has many aspects of his game that he needs to improve.

But if those problems are fixed, the sky is the limit for the Tennessee quarterback.