“Dealing with all the colleges I normally do, they wanted to see more, the movement, the backside dig, check-downs, progressions, and so what I had to do on my end was just recreate that, having workout sessions and making sure filming those things and letting coaches know, this guy is very good,” Hernandez said. “I’ll put him against anybody in the country. He wasn’t Elite 11, but I’d put him against everybody. He’s got the prettiest stroke, he’s got touch, can layer it, everything. I’d put him against everybody.”
Helton, like Justin Wilcox’s California staff as it had garnered Shrout’s commitment, saw plenty to like about Shrout. Enough that the Vols flipped the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder and made him their lone signal-caller in the 2018 class.
Shrout began summer workouts with his new teammates on Rocky Top after he arrived at UT in late May.
“Coach Helton said he throws a really good ball, and I said, ‘I know, he does,’” Hernandez recalled. “And I told him, his best football is ahead of him. JT wasn’t that guy, some guys have been the best quarterback in the whole city since 8-years-old, highly touted, ton of offers. He’s just not that guy.
“I’m looking at how good he is, kid’s ceiling is very high, his best football is ahead. There are some really good guys in his class alone, and I don’t know how much better they’re going to get, but I look at J.T., the kid is still kind of raw, not a ton of experience, not been in front of all the cameras already, but when he’s put in those situations, he already seems a natural.
“His ceiling is just so high, he’s just scratched the surface of how good he can be, and under an amazing coach like Coach Helton and the rest of that staff, he’s going to be a sponge. The game’s going to really slow down for him.”
The game’s experts with top-level experience who run the QB Collective in Thousand Oaks, CA saw first-hand last summer a slice of Shrout’s burgeoning potential. At a camp with coaches like Mike Shanahan and Jim Zorn, alongside competitors who would sign 13 Power-5 scholarships and two more into the Ivy League, Shrout’s performance stood tall.
“Another big part in helping him was the opportunity to go to the QB Collective Camp,” Hernandez said. “It was basically an all-NFL staff. They were quoted as saying he was the most NFL-ready player throwing the ball. There were a lot of top dogs at that camp, and they gave JT pretty much the MVP at that camp, one where he got that stamp of approval.”
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