Justin Worley denies he's a 'system' QB, eager to get to UT

ROCK HILL, S.C. - The "Air Raid" offense quarterback Justin Worley conducts is so hot right now, it has its own web site.

There are T-shirts, too. Worley's got plenty of them and so do his Northwestern High teammates.

In an era where the term "spread offense" has morphed into a blanket term for any type of attack that splits out wide receivers and drops the quarterback a few paces behind his center, Northwestern High offensive coordinator Kyle Richardson's schemes are as "spread" as it gets.

"We throw the ball just about every down," said Worley, a Tennessee commitment since July who will enroll in January.

"We haven't really had a running game in our offense."

It's a system. Just like UT's pro-style offense is a system and just like Gus Malzahn's fast-paced, run-heavy attack at Auburn is a system.

Just don't call Worley a "system quarterback," a title that carries as strong of a negative connotation as any in his line of work.

"I'd say that's unfair," Worley said. "I wouldn't say just anybody can come in and throw for 3,000 yards in this offense."

Make that 11,000 and counting.

Entering Friday's Region 3-AAAA showdown with rival Gaffney, Worley was already South Carolina's record-holder for career passing yards (11,209), passing touchdowns (131), pass completions (962) and pass attempts (1,497).

With LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis in attendance, Worley added to those totals with yet another impressive performance Friday night, completing 37 of 48 passes for 424 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Trojans to a 10-0 record in the 42-28 victory. Worley also ran for a score.

He's lost just eight times in his career and led the Trojans deep into the playoffs during his sophomore and junior seasons. He became one of UT's first commitments for the class of 2011 because he wanted to make his senior season "all about Northwestern football."

"It's a good thing not going through the process right now," he said. "It's really helped."

Though most of the schools in the Southeast have popped into the office of longtime Northwestern High football coach Jimmy "Moose" Wallace, Worley's gaudy statistics have not correlated into much respect from scouting services. Both www.Scout.com and www.Rivals.com consider him as a three-star recruit and neither ranks him among the Top 30 quarterbacks from the Class of 2011.

Barton Simmons, a national recruiting analyst at www.247sports.com, said that could all change when Worley wraps up his storied high school career.

"When you line him up next to some of the other elite guys nationally in camp settings and look at the way they spin the football, Justin doesn't quite have some of the 'wow' factors that other guys have," Simmons said. "But when you look at what he's been able to do and the way he's been able to lead his team this fall, the accuracy and numbers he puts up are hard to ignore.

"I think he may have proven some doubters wrong a little bit."

"System" quarterbacks in college over the past have undergone well-documented struggles in the NFL - Hawaii's Colt Brennan or any quarterback from Texas Tech - but the learning curve from high school to college has proved kinder. A three-star recruit out of Carroll High in Southlake, Texas, Alabama's Greg McElroy has shown few hiccups while adapting to the Crimson Tide's pro-style offense after years of running the spread.

"You have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit," Simmons said. "That can kind of reflect negatively when you're forced to go under center, forced to do three-step, five-step drops.

"But it's hard for him to have much more success than he's had."

If anything, Worley, who has a 3.4 grade-point average and grades that rank 60th in Northwestern High's senior class of 370, is aware that the early part of his UT career will involve a few new situations.

"A running game is the passing game's best friend. That will definitely help," Worley said. "I guess I'll have to get accustomed to being under center every down."

Worley gave himself a head start when he asked Mack Crowder, a center from Bristol who also plans to enroll early, to be his roommate. He's also become friends with another player expected to be one of his future offensive linemen, tackle Alan Posey (Athens, Ga.).

"I'm not going in there thinking I'm going to be the starter or anything," Worley said. "I know I'm going to have to compete for a job and that's kind of why I want to get there earlier."

Wallace, a 39-year coaching veteran, has sent numerous players to Division I football schools and has had six players make the NFL. Sitting in his office Thursday after practice, Wallace leaned forward in his chair and scoffed at the notion that his most recent award-winner's success is a direct result of "the system."

"The position of quarterback is the most difficult to play in all of athletics. You have to know a lot, you have to do a lot, you have to execute a lot," Wallace said. "A lot of things that go into it, Justin's got it."

Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/.

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Comments » 54

JSamson7 writes:

Why is this guy not rated a 4 star player yet? I mean it really doesn't matter how many stars he has, but let's be real. This kid should be real good...

Snapshot writes:

Let's hope he is good. A little quarterback competition is a good thing.

richvol writes:

These so called analyists that base their opinions on how well a kid can spin the ball or the velocity in which they throw it are wrong a good percentage of the time. Is the kid a winner,a leader...does he move the team down the field and score.

Look at Worley's stats...it's the results that count and frankly I don't give a damn weather Worley ever makes it in the pros as long as he leads Tennessee to wins in the SEC. Danny Werffel,sorry about the spelling,is a classic example of a great college QB that I would have taken over practically any other elite camp winner. These star ratings are almost worthless.

tombob50 writes:

Longtime Vol fan, GoVosXtra observer, and UT alum (1982) in Gaffney, SC. First post. Gaffney is much like Alcoa or Maryville in terms of quality of HS football program ... and respect that they enjoy / have earned. Multiple state championships in HS football and basketball. Gaffney Indians have placed former players in NFL (Minnesota Vikings’ Sidney Rice, etc.) and NBA. Super-respected HS program. That Worley lit them up like this tonight is impressive. Talk of SC HS football right now. Just thought I would share.

tombob50 writes:

Test. My comment will not post.

Fulton_Vol writes:

I have to say that this young man has proven himself on the field with great numbers and results. Whether it's him, Bray, Simms or another QB under center next year I don't care as long as that player can help UT improve and win. Time will tell how good this kid is and I am hoping the results will be great. Good Luck to him and all the UT players.

Tennfan4075 writes:

in response to richvol:

These so called analyists that base their opinions on how well a kid can spin the ball or the velocity in which they throw it are wrong a good percentage of the time. Is the kid a winner,a leader...does he move the team down the field and score.

Look at Worley's stats...it's the results that count and frankly I don't give a damn weather Worley ever makes it in the pros as long as he leads Tennessee to wins in the SEC. Danny Werffel,sorry about the spelling,is a classic example of a great college QB that I would have taken over practically any other elite camp winner. These star ratings are almost worthless.

While the so called recruiting analysts may miss a great player every now and then, for anyone to classify them as worthless is a big mistake. They are only worthless when your favorite team is not signing the 4 and 5 star players. If you watch the recruiting list you will find the teams who sign the most 4 and 5 stars are the teams with the best records year after year. USC, Florida, Alabama, Texas are just a few. The Vols use to get their fair share and most of them went on to play well in college and the NFL. So bashing of the recruiting services now is hypocritical.

wigmeister writes:

WELCOME, WELCOME,WELCOME!

Can't wait till you arrive!

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Tennvol:

Lighten up. We still get the elite players and always will. We have the players in the NFL to prove it.....

OldNumber7 writes:

Is it too early to say things like Worley and his 10 Commandments! Lead us from this place! Part that Crimson Sea! (oh sorry, that's Auburn today in the State of Alabama)

1965Vol writes:

Maybe this young fella' could slip on down to Columbia 'round about 12:30 today and slip on the orange and white. Sounds like he could help out our Vols today!

vegasvol writes:

spin the football. Billy Kilmer. Washington Redskins. Hmmm.

Prostar writes:

I have to take exception to TennFan, take all the star ratings and a dollar to McDonalds and you can buy a cup of coffee. Georgia signed a kid last year who was not ranked until he committed and then all of a sudden ended up rated as the fourth best weakside DE. Texas with all their 4's and 5's has lost 3 games now. Iowa State (where Gene Chizik won 5 games in 2 years) is 4-4. It's all about being "coached up"

GreerVol22 writes:

I saw his highlight win over Gaffney last night on local tv. This kid is unreal and throws 'em long and has the dart. He will definitely give Bray a run for the money.

cloudodust writes:

Is it too early to look for a redshirt on this kid..?

RJ_Vol writes:

Kind of reminds me of Andy Kelly. The arm is good enough, but is accurate as anyone in the game.

BigBadVol writes:

Do people not realize that a 3-star recruit is pretty damn good? A lot of 3-star athletes become big timers in college and they even make the pros. I will take a 3-star with heart over a 4 or 5 star with an entitlement mentality.

TommyJack writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Do people not realize that a 3-star recruit is pretty damn good? A lot of 3-star athletes become big timers in college and they even make the pros. I will take a 3-star with heart over a 4 or 5 star with an entitlement mentality.

The "stars" are for astology. Just as useless in football.

SummittsCourt writes:

January conversation between Dooley and his QB's.

Dooley: Mr. Simms and Mr. Bray meet the future. Mr. Worley meet your back ups.

Colliervol writes:

Playing time available immediately for any high school kid who has the stuff. At all positions.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

Wow, this guys really looks like a good find for the Vols! Can't wait to see what this kid's got! GBO

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The "stars" are for astology. Just as useless in football.

I'm glad someone else sees my point of view on the "star" system.

RememberTheVols writes:

What UT needs are some 5-Star linemen with 11 fingers.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

you know his team beat down jadevon clowney's team

RJ_Vol writes:

I do believe UT better get some 5*s (or a bunch of 4*s) or things will continue to be tough - even to the extent of causing another coaching change in three years. However, to see the flip side of things, the Gators are proving that it is indeed possible to lose w/ a bunch of 5*s. Boise is winning w/ out 5*s. I think Tennessee needs a QB that can run. It would take away an extra pass defender if our QB could run a draw...such as Shuler or Martin. The same ol' "Tennessee Offense" isn't winning games anymore.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Listen, smartazz, all I'm trying to say is that just b/c we're not stacked w/ 4 or 5 star athletes doesn't mean we should just roll the white flag out there at the beginning of the season!!
Then again, you're probably a troll bammer fan, which just means you'll probably have to give those wins back for doing something stupid anyway!

Go4Two writes:

in response to Prostar:

I have to take exception to TennFan, take all the star ratings and a dollar to McDonalds and you can buy a cup of coffee. Georgia signed a kid last year who was not ranked until he committed and then all of a sudden ended up rated as the fourth best weakside DE. Texas with all their 4's and 5's has lost 3 games now. Iowa State (where Gene Chizik won 5 games in 2 years) is 4-4. It's all about being "coached up"

Then why do teams spend millions of dollars recruiting. Check out Bama's recruiting ranking since Saban arrived. 1 or 2.

huntined#565710 writes:

Saw him play in a game early this year and he is a good Q.B. He stays in there and takes the hit and he has a arm on him but the thing I like about him is the fact that he really want's to be a VOL!!!

tnsportsman writes:

Welcome again Justin Worley to BIG ORANGE COUNTRY and OUR VOLS! You keep doing what you are doing and WE VOLS don't care about 'the system' and 'stars'! I hope you stay a so called '3 Star' in their JOKE SYSTEM so you can break it off in their AZZ later at Tennessee!

Boise State: 3 losses in 5 years with an average recruiting class ranked 72 during the 5 year period, 'Stars Yeah Right, LOL'! Also BSU has an equal balance of players in each class year and most stay 4 years. That's called building Leadership! Could they play in the SEC, doesn't matter, they always beat top teams in their bowl games.

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT

RoadTrip writes:

Crompton was a 5* with lots of "spin" on his ball. How did that work out? At the same time Bradford and McCoy were lights out in the passing game.

Worley is the real deal. He sees the entire field better than JC ever did. He has the pocket presence, quick release, touch and velocity to be one of the best ever at UT. It all depends on what is between his ears and in his heart. We will not know how that all works out until he gets here. I have a strong opinion we are all going to be very happy and proud of what he does here.

The rating services are tools, literally and figuratively. We see how all those 5*'s have lifted the Gators to the heights of mediocrity. Many of the posters on this blog know as much or more about football and players than Rivals and Scout. They line up with their buddies and play the money game. Don't fall for it. Look at what they say as just a source of information and make your own analysis. You will find you are right as much or more than they are.

volfan2002 writes:

Worley is not only physically gifted. He also has the mental part of the game down and he don't make mistakes. That is a huge part of playing QB and he's gonna be a good one for Tennessee.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

yep, while you're worried about the VOLs, south carolina is kicking your 4/5* azz.

btw - i doubt your 4/5* are gonna help you when auburn sends you to the outback bowl.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The "stars" are for astology. Just as useless in football.

They have helped Bama and many other schools. But I agree they can be just as bad as 3 star can be great. If anything it sets a pretty picture for recruiting purposes.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Crompton was a 5* with lots of "spin" on his ball. How did that work out? At the same time Bradford and McCoy were lights out in the passing game.

Worley is the real deal. He sees the entire field better than JC ever did. He has the pocket presence, quick release, touch and velocity to be one of the best ever at UT. It all depends on what is between his ears and in his heart. We will not know how that all works out until he gets here. I have a strong opinion we are all going to be very happy and proud of what he does here.

The rating services are tools, literally and figuratively. We see how all those 5*'s have lifted the Gators to the heights of mediocrity. Many of the posters on this blog know as much or more about football and players than Rivals and Scout. They line up with their buddies and play the money game. Don't fall for it. Look at what they say as just a source of information and make your own analysis. You will find you are right as much or more than they are.

Lets hope we have coaches willing to build the system around his strengths rather than insisting he play there way.

CharlotteVol writes:

I love getting 4-star recruits but to me it looks like most of the elite college players are 3-stars coming out of high school who work their tails off. I hope we end up with a lot of these 3-star Dooley recruits becoming great college players. Go Vols!

Rockytop38 writes:

I'm not worried about stars. Watched this kid play on TV. Believe he is the real deal. If we can get a bunch of good WR's so that he can spread the ball around he would be hard to stop. I'd bet Chavis is looking at the DB. Maybe we should go after him too,

http://www.heraldonline.com/2010/10/3...

Orangeblood13 writes:

gota get some big guys to protect this kid and Bray. You cant throw from your back thats for sure.

I agree with TJ, stars are for the birds. Line em up, strap em up and play

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Go4Two:

Then why do teams spend millions of dollars recruiting. Check out Bama's recruiting ranking since Saban arrived. 1 or 2.

Recruiting is not an exact science. Teams spend all that money trying to reduce the uncertainty, but that is a far more complex process than merely counting recruiting-service "stars". It is to me self-evident that a player's ultimate productivity at the next level is only incidentally related to his statistics at the lower level. The idea is to find players who can PLAY and have the ability and desire for further development rather than those who have merely accumulated gaudy stats.

HtownVol writes:

All that I care about is how JW plays the QB position. If you watched his game at the begining of the year vs. J Clowney's team J Worley is a difference maker. I say this kid stand in the pocket and deliver a TD strike while getting blown up by a DL. Worley will be a great QB at UT.

As much as I like Bray, I actually am more excited about Worley. Bray has the rocket arm, but Worley is the one I see as the leader. He is very smart in his decision making. In the game and highlights I have seen JW makes the plays by doing what will help his team.

I just dont see Bray being as quick to make a decision as Worley. Of course I may be wrong. Dont get me wrong in a perfect world I want Bray to start next year and if Simms does not quit because he wont play Simms can be the backup and Worley will red-shirt. But judging from his comments above I doubt he wants to red-shirt.

Either way Simms is in no way the starter next year. Simms has reached his potential and sorry to say that point is nowhere near as high as Bray or Worley.

The QB situation will be very nice at UT for the next 4 years. Add our great WRs, young OL and 3 recruits, TEs, RBs and our Offense will not be a issue in the future. On Defense I love the recruiting of the DBs and DL. P Martin, Randolph Coleman are going to help so much. If there is one player on UT that I do not see potential in is Art Evans. I really do not see Art Evans as a Starter, he gets burned and he can not be physical enough to jam a WR.

If you guys want UT Football to rise again do 1 thing KEEP SUPPORTING this team! Recruits will see that UT fans love their team no matter what! The crowd last week was great. I do not like the leaving in the 4th but it was a nice showing. Keep it up.

GO VOLS!

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

South Carolina 35 Alabubba 21

Ironcity writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

Crompton was a 5* with lots of "spin" on his ball. How did that work out? At the same time Bradford and McCoy were lights out in the passing game.

Worley is the real deal. He sees the entire field better than JC ever did. He has the pocket presence, quick release, touch and velocity to be one of the best ever at UT. It all depends on what is between his ears and in his heart. We will not know how that all works out until he gets here. I have a strong opinion we are all going to be very happy and proud of what he does here.

The rating services are tools, literally and figuratively. We see how all those 5*'s have lifted the Gators to the heights of mediocrity. Many of the posters on this blog know as much or more about football and players than Rivals and Scout. They line up with their buddies and play the money game. Don't fall for it. Look at what they say as just a source of information and make your own analysis. You will find you are right as much or more than they are.

Payton Manning and Health Shuler were 5 star players and how did that work out?

TKO writes:

Bring some rib protection.

berry4life writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Do people not realize that a 3-star recruit is pretty damn good? A lot of 3-star athletes become big timers in college and they even make the pros. I will take a 3-star with heart over a 4 or 5 star with an entitlement mentality.

thats whats real..........half guys already sign stars will change after the hs football season over cause they go to all those camps

shorttail writes:

in response to RememberTheVols:

What UT needs are some 5-Star linemen with 11 fingers.

amen

Smokey_Told_Me writes:

in response to RJ_Vol:

Kind of reminds me of Andy Kelly. The arm is good enough, but is accurate as anyone in the game.

Another good thing that Andy was...

Maybe the best fourth quarter, come from behind quarterback in Vol history. Andy had ice water in his blood and never got rattled.

...Smokey knows where the bones are buried.

OrangePride writes:

Put this kid behind a line that can block and give him a few backs who can run and catch and we will see just what a 3* kid can really do. Frankly, no one will be surprised to see him at 4* by the end of the year. GO VOLS! Glad the VOLS have this kid in the lineup!

Crutch writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

you know his team beat down jadevon clowney's team

Not only did they beat them down, they had to come from behind and he threw 5 TD passes in a 4-5 minutes span! He did all of this with constant pressure. If you look at his o-line they are undersized and he has to do a lot of side-stepping. This kid already has great pocket presence! Whatever he is selling, i'm buying at this point!

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to TKO:

Bring some rib protection.

I think the O-line has some bright days ahead of them. Now taking their lumps - or rather, the QB's are - because we're starting 3-4 guys that weren't even on the team last year. Injuries will heal, birthday's will occur, off-season workouts will develop, and game-experience will be had. Next year we'll have Schofield (Soph.), James (Soph.), Fulton (Soph.), Stone (Soph.), Thomas (Jr.), Gooch (Jr.) returning with significant SEC-game experience. This year's O-line had 3 returning career starts, all by Shaw. Next year's will have at least 48 returning starts, and the 2012's could have over 120. They're gonna get bigger, stronger, more mature, more experienced, and hopefully not be switching coaches and systems every year.

joshbump writes:

i love this dude, love the way he looks. he is confident. im excited to have him coming to UT. i really like his arm

BigOrangeinCharge writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Do people not realize that a 3-star recruit is pretty damn good? A lot of 3-star athletes become big timers in college and they even make the pros. I will take a 3-star with heart over a 4 or 5 star with an entitlement mentality.

I think most people really don't understand how the star rankings work:

1/4 of the star ranking is based off what schools are offering the kid a scholarship. If a kid's an amazing athlete but has got no offers from big time schools, he probably won't even show up on the recruiting services' radar. I know HS coaches who've said they had kids gain a star overnight when word got out that USC or Florida were interested, too. This has very little to do with the kid's actual athletic merits.

About half of the rating is based off a kid's "measurables," but the services only trust these when they come from some type of big scouting combine/major program's football camp. They look at height, weight, speed, etc. We all know of guys who look like Tarzan, but play like Jane, and if a kid's the greatest football player in the world but doesn't make it to one of these camps he's going to get looked down upon by the recruiting services. UT had this kid in camp and decided he was worth offering a scholarship to. That's all I need to know.

The other 1/4 of the ranking is based off HS stats, "level of competition" (guys in TX, CA, and FL are always ranked higher than similar kids from TN), and finally the opinion of some "scout" who may have never done any recruiting or coaching who grades the kid after watching maybe 30 seconds of highlights.

What this means is that the vast majority of HS kids who get college scholarships are ZERO stars. Those who get scholarships to BCS schools are mostly in the 2-3* range, which is considered "contributor-to-solid-major-conference-starter" material. There are usually only a few dozen 5* players in the nation in any given year, and sometimes none at all positions.

People have gotten the idea from playing videogames and buying into recruiting hype that 3* players suck and never amount to much while 5* players are plentiful and have godlike talent. That's just not true.

For a 2-6 team that might not win a single SEC game this season and is going to suffer through a long rebuilding process, Dooley's recruiting class so far looks very impressive on paper.

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