Why Riley Ferguson Left The Vols Program

The true reason why Riley Ferguson decided to part ways with Butch Jones and the Vols football team will continue to be debated this off-season. From what I am hearing, it seems to be that Ferguson got tired of not being "the man".

How do you become the man? Work ethic, trust, dedication and a general command of the team are all contributing factors in being considered "the man". Ferguson was often touted as the most physically gifted quarterback on the Vols roster, but from what I am hearing, the redshirt freshman didn't do anything to earn the trust of the his teammates or coaching staff.

Before a leg injury last season, many thought Ferguson was going to get the nod over fellow freshman Joshua Dobbs. With Ferguson dealing with the injury, Dobbs took over the starting quarterback reigns after Justin Worley went down with a thumb injury. Dobbs had his shares of ups and downs - mostly downs - but he possessed something that Ferguson has seemingly never found.

I often wondered why Ferguson never got a chance late last season after Dobbs struggled. Aside from the obvious point of not wanting to burn his redshirt, I didn't fully understand why Jones didn't give Ferguson a chance. My question was answered as I watched the four quarterbacks play in the Orange and White game. Ferguson was by far the least prepared and looked light years behind the other three quarterbacks on the roster. This combined with the exceptional performance from Dobbs got me closer to the answer. After expecting Ferguson to be the man this year, the realization that that was not going to happen became more apparent snap by snap.

I once had high hopes and expectations for Ferguson as a member of the Vols football team. I thought he could be "the man" to lead the Vols back to relevance. After a year and a half in Knoxville, it became apparent that Ferguson got tired of working towards being "the man". Whether it was work ethic or something else entirely, not everybody is a fit in every locker room. I hope Ferguson finds a home elsewhere and becomes the player he knows he can be and we all expected. Sometimes it takes more than having the physical tools to become and impact player at the NCAA level.

[Image: Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com - from Fox Sports]

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