Tennessee Volunteers: Is Tyler Bray All Hype or the Next Great SEC Quarterback?

Dr. SECAnalyst IIOctober 6, 2011

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Quarterback Tyler Bray #8 of the Tennessee Volunteers attempts a pass during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

How good is Tyler Bray? Is he a future All-American? Perhaps he is not quite All-American material but he is All-SEC material. Then again, he could be the next great bust who just tallied up numbers against mediocre and inferior talent.

Bray’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs this week will not define his career. However, it could give us a better indication of which of the three above categories he falls under.

Bray has looked spectacular in seven of his nine career starts. However, the two games that he looked human were against the only two teams he played with a pulse.

In both the North Carolina game in 2010 and the Florida Gator game in 2011, Bray had impressive moments. On the other hand, he also had moments that he looked like he should be quarterbacking for Middle Tennessee State instead of the Tennessee Volunteers.

I am not ready to judge him because of either game. In the game versus North Carolina he was a true freshman. Moreover, in the game against Florida, he lost Justin Hunter who was playing the receiver position as good as anyone in the SEC.

While I am not ready to judge him because of those two games, I am also unwilling to crown him because of his dominance against such weak competition.

Bray, for the second time in three games, has a chance to prove he is an elite quarterback. He will be facing a Bulldog team that has been very impressive in their last four games. Once again, the game will be in the state of Tennessee and Bray will have a chance to carve up a stellar defense.

In Bray’s starts against Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Montana, Cincinnati, and Buffalo, he has passed for 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

In his two games against the Tar Heels and the Gators he had seven touchdown passes and five interceptions. Moreover, there were at least four dropped interceptions against Florida.

While he has not been horrific in those two games, he has been less than impressive.

If Bray plays well this week, win or lose, he will be one step closer to joining the elite. I do believe, however, that he will need to have a quality win on the road as well.

Anyone who has watched Tyler Bray play knows he can make all the passes; however, there are still questions that need to be answered about his maturity and leadership abilities.  In my opinion, he will evolve into one of the nation’s top quarterbacks or he will become the next Ryan Mallet.

Can he step up his game to match his opponents? We will be closer to that answer on Sunday morning.