With one Tennessee-themed tweet Monday, Texas high school quarterback Quinten Dormady sent a sigh of relief across Rocky Top.
Suddenly, head coach Butch Jones and the Volunteers went from watching quarterback dominoes fall off their board to landing a significant target with a high ceiling.
Dormady's pledge fills a massive need in Knoxville.
After the surprising decision by UT redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson to transfer, the Vols have just three scholarship quarterbacks. One of them is senior Justin Worley, so getting more arms on campus was a necessity not only for competition but depth.
Dormady ultimately chose UT over Alabama following a three-day visit to Knoxville that ended Saturday. It probably didn't hurt that Jon Gruden (a former UT assistant) was on campus to speak and teach at the coinciding camp.
"It is hard to overstate the importance of this commitment for Tennessee," GoVols247 recruiting analyst Ryan Callahan told Bleacher Report.
"Tennessee's coaches already were high on Dormady before his visit last week, but they really liked what they saw from him at their camp over the weekend. And Jon Gruden apparently spoke highly of him, too, after seeing him work out.
"He's a really talented kid who should have a bright future at Tennessee."
UT coaches didn't mask their enthusiasm, taking to Twitter with not-so-subtle responses to Dormady's announcement.
After Zach Gentry committed to Texas and Sheriron Jones pledged to Florida, the Vols were down to just a handful of viable targets with UT offers remaining on the board.
With Torrance Gibson and Deondre Francois not expected to decide soon, Dormady represented Tennessee's best chance to secure a high priority early in the process.
Here's a deeper look at what the impact of Dormady's commitment means for the Vols.
Untapped Potential Is the Biggest Upside
The 6'4", 208-pound signal-caller from Boerne, Texas, is still a somewhat unknown commodity in recruiting circles.
Tearing a labrum and missing your entire junior season will do that to a prospect's stock, and that's exactly what happened to Dormady.
Once 247Sports analysts watched him throw at the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp, however, they elevated him to a 4-star prospect and the nation's fifth-ranked pro-style quarterback.
Dormady is a strong-armed slinger who is ideally sized for the position. Though he's primarily a dropback passer, he does have athleticism necessary to move the pocket, evidenced by him commandeering a spread offense in high school.
Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, TCU, Indiana, Houston and Texas-San Antonio also had extended offers.
The nation's elite teams were beginning to take notice, and UT offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian deserves credit for securing his commitment.
With a strong senior showing, Dormady could wind up one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the class.
Another Huge Recruiting (and PR) Win
Tennessee was nowhere near panic mode when Dormady pulled the trigger, but his commitment was important for other reasons besides his on-field impact.
The Vols hadn't received a verbal commitment since April 12 when running back Rocky Reid pledged after the spring game. For a fanbase spoiled by Jones' consistent success on the recruiting trail, two months was a long time to wait.
After UT failed to sign a quarterback during the 2014 cycle, there were legitimate concerns about whether Bajakian could lure a top-shelf gunslinger to Knoxville.
Dormady's commitment puts those worries to rest.
Also, any time UT can beat Bama at anything, it makes the fans happy.
With the Vols failing to best UA on the field since 2006, winning a head-to-head recruiting battle against Saban for a crucial commit (not to mention offensive coordinator Kiffin, who has a bit of history with UT, if you haven't heard) is huge.
"They needed a quarterback pretty badly," Callahan said, "and for the Vols to get one of the top guys on their board—and to beat out Alabama to do it—at this point in the summer is pretty impressive."
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Following Ferguson's transfer, there was no way Jones could wait on 5-star top quarterback target Gibson to make a decision that could drag all the way to national signing day.
Especially considering UT is currently neck and neck with Auburn for his signature, according to AL.com's Wesley Sinor.
If the Vols put all their eggs in Gibson's basket and he chose somebody else, the egg would wind up on Jones' face.
Waiting wasn't an option.
Whether Dormady's commitment hurts UT's chances with Gibson or not doesn't matter. The dual-threat quarterback was actually visiting Knoxville on the day Dormady announced he was committing, so he remains interested in the Vols.
Gibson's other co-leader, Auburn, has a QB committed already as well in Tyler Queen. For that matter, so do the Vols.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, athlete Jauan Jennings may project to various positions on the next level, but his progression at quarterback has been lauded. Barton Simmons of GoVols247 praised Jennings' film recently (subscription required).
This past weekend, Jennings participated in UT's quarterback camp alongside Dormady and was critiqued by Gruden. He told GoVols247's Callahan (subscription required):
"I felt like I did good," Jennings said. "They felt the same way."
Teaming Dormady with Jennings gives UT a nice one-two punch with diverse skill sets. If their commitments stick, the duo can provide Joshua Dobbs with some strong competition to be the future leader of Tennessee's talented offense.
The importance of Dormady's decision could be felt in Knoxville for years to come and may be one of the biggest puzzle pieces to Jones putting Tennessee football back on the map.
All recruiting rankings and statistics courtesy of 247Sports.
Brad Shepard is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Brad on Twitter here:
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