Report: Tyler Bray to enter the NFL draft

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray (8) leaves the field with teammates Antonio Richardson (74), back, and Alex Bullard (78), right, after the Volunteers 38-35 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray (8) leaves the field with teammates Antonio Richardson (74), back, and Alex Bullard (78), right, after the Volunteers 38-35 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Quarterback Tyler Bray is leaving Tennessee to enter the NFL draft, CBSSports.com reported Thursday night.

Reporter Bruce Feldman, citing an unnamed source, said Bray would forgo his senior year of eligibility under first-year coach Butch Jones. Bray could not be reached for comment, and did not confirm or deny the report on Twitter.

Jones confirmed Wednesday that junior receiver Cordarrelle Patterson would leave early for the NFL. He did not offer an update on Bray's status.

"We've had conversations (with Bray)," Jones said. "In a very short period of time, it's hard for them, because they really don't know me. But you try to be as upfront and honest as possible. ... We'll support them in whatever choice they make."

Bray would leave Tennessee in fourth place all-time in passing touchdowns (69) and passing yards (7,444) and fifth in pass completions (540). He is immediately behind Erik Ainge in all three categories.

Although the Vols finished with a losing record, Bray put up big numbers in his final year. He completed 268 of 451 passes for 3,612 yards, an average of 301 per game. He threw 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Bray replaced Matt Simms and started five games as a true freshman in 2010, a promising debut that earned him the starting role a year later. But he was sidelined for five games early in 2011 after breaking his thumb.

Bray's goal was to be healthy in 2012, and he succeeded, benefiting from a much-improved offensive line that helped him to lead one of the most prolific Tennessee offenses ever.

Bray declined to answer most questions about his future during the final week of the season, although he did say at one point that the choices made by Patterson and Justin Hunter would influence his decision.

Hunter, the Vols' leading receiver in 2012, declared his intention to enter the NFL draft on Monday. Patterson's decision, confirmed by Jones but not formally announced, would leave few if any experienced receivers on Tennessee's roster.

Draft projections vary for Bray, who has a strong arm and a 6-foot-6 frame but likely needs seasoning before being asked to start in the NFL. Most recently, NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said he could see Bray going in the second or third round.

Even as he was putting up big numbers in 2012, Bray could still be inconsistent, and coach Derek Dooley even threatened to bench him at one point this year.

Bray answered the challenge with one of the best stretches of his career, amassing 1,302 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception in a three-game stretch against South Carolina, Troy and Missouri. But a week later against Vanderbilt, he was benched after a listless performance in the Vols' 41-18 loss.

Bray ended his career with a victory over Kentucky with his coordinator, Jim Chaney, serving as interim head coach. Bray's family had come from California to watch the game.

"I thought we would be going to a bowl, but things didn't go that way this year," Bray said. "We got a win at the end, so that's all that matters."

Without Bray, the Vols would enter spring practice with only two scholarship quarterbacks — rising junior Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman, who redshirted as a freshman in 2012. Riley Ferguson of Matthews, N.C., is verbally committed to the Vols and is expected to sign in February and join the team in the summer.

Worley played only sparingly this year after being pressed into action as a true freshman in 2011. He completed 8 of 11 passes for 51 yards and one interception in relief of Bray at Vanderbilt.

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Comments » 222

OLROCKYTOP writes:

Hate to see him go, but I wish him luck and success. I enjoyed watching him play.

SevenT writes:

".....and the 90th player picked in this years Draft is Tennessee's QB Tyler-NFL-Bust"

GatorHater1998 writes:

Please go with Peterman over Worley, he would fit the system sooooo much better.

eVOLved writes:

He was a great qb, and our offense was so fun to watch this year. Maybe the Jets will pick him up, and he will start over all of those losers.

volaholic45 writes:

I will remember him as a good QB who could have been great if he had not been such a drama queen. If he thinks he's ready to move on, I am too. Good luck.

rockypop writes:

As unready for the NFL as he is, this was probably a good decision by Bray. Why come back for another year when all the receivers who made him look good are gone, and when he'll have to learn a new system? One look at next season's schedule will tell you that his chances of putting up even the same numbers as this year against better competition with fewer weapons, are seriously slim. He's a real crapshoot for any franchise, but so are the other QBs in this draft.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to SevenT:

".....and the 90th player picked in this years Draft is Tennessee's QB Tyler-NFL-Bust"

With the first pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select.... Tim Couch, quarterback, from the University of Kentucky. Now THAT is an NFL bust.

tennrich1 writes:

Really Tyler IMO had only one choice...yeah another year of seasoning certainly wouldnt have hurt him but he's was kinda in no man's land...probably will make a team somewhere and who knows he could be the next star what with the cannon arm....

MarbleVol48 writes:

Good Luck to Bray and Hunter. I do fear for their safety in the NFL. They are not near ready for the pounding they are going to take. The first time Hunter goes down to an arm tackle in the open field his career will be over. Now patterson may just make it if he keeps his head on straight. There is no showboating in the NFL until ..AFTER.. you cross the goal line.

volzcrushm writes:

Hunter, Patterson, Bray????? I hope they have the maturity. That one more year could mean a major difference. Regardless, good luck to these guys. It was great to have them at UT.

bigvol980#528379 writes:

in response to volzcrushm:

Hunter, Patterson, Bray????? I hope they have the maturity. That one more year could mean a major difference. Regardless, good luck to these guys. It was great to have them at UT.

In 100% agreement. Would love to see them for 1 more year. I think it would make a great difference, especially with Patterson, (so much raw talent, but still raw). Do wish them well and hope the have great careers.

doollittle writes:

He couldn't lead a horse to water. Good luck, it will be nice watching him in an NFL licensed coat on the lines

96vols writes:

Good player, hate to lose him, but I don't blame him at all. New coach, new offense, probably do the same thing in his shoes. Time for a fresh start for all involved. Hope we served him well!

SevenT writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

With the first pick in the 1999 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select.... Tim Couch, quarterback, from the University of Kentucky. Now THAT is an NFL bust.

With the third pick in the 1994 NFL draft the Washington Redskins select.....Heath Shuler, quarterback from the University of Tennessee

kyletrktr writes:

I sincerely hope he does good in the NFL, albeit almost strictly for Tennessee's sake. He has the talent, but I don't think he is ready. Nonetheless, I'm glad that Butch gets a clean slate, so when, not if, he does well, everyone will have to except the fact that he is our guy. By that I mean ESPN and every Alabama fan that I have ever met:-) Go Vols!

Millisa writes:

Bray wont last in the NFL and Good Luck To CP and Hunter :) :) :) Hope to see Worley and Peterman get playing time.

standfast#211788 writes:

He never undersood, and obviously still doesn't. Even still, I wish him all the best.

cjj14u writes:

So no Bray, Hunter, Rivera, Patterson?

You think THIS year was bad?

I can now see UK lambasting the Vols in Lexington next year to cap a winless SEC season.....

I think this fan base should start calling for Jones head now.... ROFL.....

Orangeblood64 writes:

I think it's good for Him and UT. like to see a complete overhaul. It might take a little time but CBJ will pull it all together and have who he wants in the right places.

TheStupidPolice writes:

Unfortunately for Tyler, he had to play for a coach with a polar opposite personality and who tried to crush his. Had he played for a Pete Carroll type coach, he would have been one of the best we've ever seen. I think back to his touchdown celebration where they spun their fingers around their head and how Dooley trashed them during a press conference and put them down and said every play they make makes him want to do the crazy sign. I also hated what he did to Bray during the Vandy game. Dooley said after the Bama game that Bray would be benched if he threw more interceptions. How did Bray respond? 1302 yds and 13 TDs over the next 3 games. Then he throws a tipped pass INT and Dooley goes and punks him. SMH. Ya'll can slam him for pouting after that, but I can't think of many college QBs ever who wouldn't have done the same. Best of luck Tyler.

96vols writes:

in response to volaholic45:

I will remember him as a good QB who could have been great if he had not been such a drama queen. If he thinks he's ready to move on, I am too. Good luck.

My sentiments exactly. Needs some mental maturation....lots of unrealized potential there.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Thanks, Mr. Bray, and good luck to you. You're gonna need it.

BigOrangeDan writes:

Hope all three do well but I'm glad to see them go. Start fresh without the drama from Bray, the 3/4 effort from Hunter and with Patterson skipping school all fall he would not be eligible any way! Go Big Orange!!!!!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Good luck TB, get in the weight room and study film..You can do it!!

CoverOrange writes:

Where ever they go, I'll be cheering for them.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to SevenT:

With the third pick in the 1994 NFL draft the Washington Redskins select.....Heath Shuler, quarterback from the University of Tennessee

With the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts select... Peyton Manning, quarterback, University of Tennessee. Save your bs for basketball stories. You can't win a football argument with any real UT fan.

Tacomeat writes:

in response to SevenT:

".....and the 90th player picked in this years Draft is Tennessee's QB Tyler-NFL-Bust"

As a back up for the next 3 years odds are he will make more money than you will in the next 20 years.

dvols writes:

he never had a running back.......

SevenT writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

With the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft the Indianapolis Colts select... Peyton Manning, quarterback, University of Tennessee. Save your bs for basketball stories. You can't win a football argument with any real UT fan.

With the 64th pick of the 2011 NFL draft the Green Bay Packers select.......Randall Cobb, wide receiver, University of Kentucky

wigmeister writes:

in response to GatorHater1998:

Please go with Peterman over Worley, he would fit the system sooooo much better.

I think the coaching staff is smart enough to pick the quarterback they believe will have the best chance of running their system, without help from us.

Thank you Bray, Hunter & Patterson for everything you did for the Orange. Wishing you well on your future!

thevoice writes:

Not a one of these guys from TN. Go figure.

claiborneh writes:

I never believed in Bray. I was always anticipating an interception. Despite stats he did not come through in the big games.
He acted immature, and Dooley called him out like he should.
Bray needs another year of college, but declaring was the correct decision due to circumstances.
I predict Peterman will be starting QB and flourish.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to SevenT:

With the 64th pick of the 2011 NFL draft the Green Bay Packers select.......Randall Cobb, wide receiver, University of Kentucky

You just made my point.

TitanBlueGoVols writes:

Good for him. Good for Patterson and Hunter thanks for what u did.Hope you the best.Hope whatever you might have learned helps you cause Bray get ready.You thought the Bama and the other SEC schools could confuse you and hit you. YOU havent seen nothing yet my boy.Keep you chin up tho...

chattabluetick writes:

in response to SevenT:

With the 64th pick of the 2011 NFL draft the Green Bay Packers select.......Randall Cobb, wide receiver, University of Kentucky

If the Mayans are wrong and the world doesn't end, and football is still played 50 years from now, the Manning name will still be known. Whereas the only cob famous will still be the one corn comes on.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to dvols:

he never had a running back.......

True.

Also true is last year he had a line that almost eliminated sacks against SEC defenses, a stellar tandem of wide outs (overlooking CP couldn't run routes and JH protecting a multi-million dollar future) and a tight end that will play on Sundays.

In my humble opinion, Tyler could maximize his NFL draft position by playing another year. He has the arm but lacks the leadership required in the NFL. He has a protective offensive line back. If he goes, he might be 3rd round, will be 3rd string and will not be allowed to develop beyond 3rd rate.

thevoice writes:

in response to TitanBlueGoVols:

Good for him. Good for Patterson and Hunter thanks for what u did.Hope you the best.Hope whatever you might have learned helps you cause Bray get ready.You thought the Bama and the other SEC schools could confuse you and hit you. YOU havent seen nothing yet my boy.Keep you chin up tho...

The Harbrace Handbook is still in print.

SevenT writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

You just made my point.

Worry not, there your adopted Denver team has Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan to help out the aging QB on defense. And you will be watching Peyton throw to Jacob Tammee quite a bit. There is a lot of football to watch my friend.

Vols4Ever writes:

in response to SevenT:

With the third pick in the 1994 NFL draft the Washington Redskins select.....Heath Shuler, quarterback from the University of Tennessee

And the Portland Trail Blazers pick .... Sam B...

VFLVFLVFL writes:

in response to cjj14u:

So no Bray, Hunter, Rivera, Patterson?

You think THIS year was bad?

I can now see UK lambasting the Vols in Lexington next year to cap a winless SEC season.....

I think this fan base should start calling for Jones head now.... ROFL.....

hmmm.. interesting.. just because they leave, doesnt mean Kentucky has better talent than UT..We still will dominate on OL and our front seven on D.. not to mention KY beat us under arguably the worst coach in past 30 years in the SEC.
And as for calling for his head, the guy hasnt coached a game yet.. give him his 3 years then evaluate him then.. he already is winning over the fan base & former players off the field.. if he can win games, this fan base will love him as well as recruits

pcorange writes:

Any Tennessee fan with a lick of sense knows that Tyler Bray is the best QB Tennessee has had in modern history other than Peyton Manning. It's a shame he had to be play his time here under a horrible head coach. I agree that he probably has some growing up to do, but it'll be a long time before we see that kind of talent here again.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Hey Tyler, does the name HEATH SHULER ring a bell? One more year of experience would be more beneficial to you than listening to people who will only tell you what YOU WANT TO HEAR.

VFLVFLVFL writes:

To add to my previous post, not sure if 3 years is always the answer in every situation.. sometimes red flags go off in one season to say this isnt our guy... but as for this guy I find it hard to believe there is any worse than what Dooley and Sunseri did this year... ON and OFF the field.. the recruiting stories and former player interraction stories are terrible to hear.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

With the third pick in the 1994 NFL draft the Washington Redskins select.....Heath Shuler, quarterback from the University of Tennessee

Tim Couch..

6972 writes:

in response to cjj14u:

So no Bray, Hunter, Rivera, Patterson?

You think THIS year was bad?

I can now see UK lambasting the Vols in Lexington next year to cap a winless SEC season.....

I think this fan base should start calling for Jones head now.... ROFL.....

Why start calling for Jones's head now? I don't understand that. It's not his fault that TB, JH, CP have decided to go to the NFL. Judge him on his performance at UT. And remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. With a new QB and new receivers, I don't expect a miracle next year. Just steady progress.

vol98champ writes:

If I remember correctly, Bray was going to San Diego State until Lanney changed his mind. I'll take the guy Lanney ran off any day over Bray. Probably both schools would have been better off without the changes. So many mistakes for so many years!!!

tomkats3242 writes:

Now is the time for healing. We might miss a lot of Vols players who are leaving but let's look forward to next year which cannot be worst than this years team. We might even surprise the people who suppose to know like J. A----. Too bad he cannot go to the NFL. GO BIG ORANGE

VFLVFLVFL writes:

in response to pcorange:

Any Tennessee fan with a lick of sense knows that Tyler Bray is the best QB Tennessee has had in modern history other than Peyton Manning. It's a shame he had to be play his time here under a horrible head coach. I agree that he probably has some growing up to do, but it'll be a long time before we see that kind of talent here again.

Hmmm... raw talent??? yes... Doesnt always translate to wins. He does have a quick release and strong arm.. accuracy on short passes, horrible reads, and slow between the ears have been his problem.. I would have a hard time picking him over tee martin, or erik ainge.

TNFaninFL writes:

The right decision eventhough he is not ready, probably would have hurt his stock if he stuck around for his last year. New offense, new receivers, tougher schedule,right call.. he was in between the rock and the hardplace.

Tru138 writes:

in response to SevenT:

".....and the 90th player picked in this years Draft is Tennessee's QB Tyler-NFL-Bust"

This coming from the little squirrel who threatened to bring a gun to a game because he was scared someone was going to b@#ch slap him. Stop being such a bag and you won't go through life getting picked on.

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