Jonathan Crompton will be Tennessee's starting quarterback on Sept. 5. That's the coaches' decision announced Monday.
Who snaps him the ball might be decided by an orthopedic specialist.
Head coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Monday that Crompton, the fifth-year senior, is the starter and junior Nick Stephens the back-up.
"I went back and took all three preseason games together,'' Kiffin said, "all the numbers, all the film. It was a very hard decision.
"We've got two good quarterbacks.''
And one healthy center.
The most heated job competition on the team may go to Cody Sullins by default.
Josh McNeil, who has a string of 35 consecutive starts at center, missed Monday's practice to allow a specialist to evaluate his aching knee.
McNeil and Sullins have battled through spring and fall practice but Monday belonged to Sullins.
"I want to say eight or nine days ago (McNeil) came down weird on it and kept playing through it,'' Kiffin said. "It was really an issue for him Saturday.
"We sent him for some more tests. You can't just send him for an MRI because he's had so much damage (in the past) you can't really tell anything.
"We'll see what the results say when they come back and hopefully we'll have good news and he'll be able to play for us.''
If Kiffin's quarterback announcement was good news to Crompton he didn't break out any champagne.
"Nothing is settled,'' Crompton said. "We haven't played a game yet.
"Everybody's really hungry and nobody cares if anybody's been named a starter.''
Crompton started six games in 2008, the first four and the last two. Stephens started the six games in between.
Both got a fresh start when Kiffin was hired in December. A hand injury limited Stephens in the spring, leaving B.J. Coleman as Crompton's main competition through the Orange & White Game.
Coleman transferred after spring practice to Chattanooga, feeling he wasn't getting a fair shake. A healthy Stephens challenged Crompton throughout fall camp, although Crompton generally worked with the No. 1 offense.
Kiffin said both Crompton and Stephens had very good numbers in general.
"I really came down to Jonathan was a little more accurate,'' Kiffin said. "But if something happens to Jonathan, we're very confident Nick will do a great job for us.
"It's weird to say it. If anybody looks at one of the five most improved players from spring, Nick would be one of them, even though he didn't win the starting job.''
Crompton appreciates that and vowed to continue working hard. He was throwing with receivers after practice ended.
"Coach has done a really good job of planting in our heads that we're not anywhere close to being there,'' he said. "We've got to keep working.
"We all know we're playing for our jobs in week 10. Nothing is guaranteed around here. The minute you stop competing you get complacent and that's when things start going downhill.''
For McNeil things started going downhill when he reinjured his knee in practice.
"He got landed into, he heard a crunch and it hasn't been the same since,'' said offensive line coach James Cregg.
"Josh is really hurting right now ... and it's too bad. This camp has taken a toll on him and over the years has taken a toll on him right now. He's battling his butt off, though.''
Cody Sullins' twin brother Cory snapped for the No. 2 offense on Monday. Cregg said guard Jacques McClendon could also be "an emergency go-to guy.''