Tyler Bray has decided to forego his senior season with the Tennessee Volunteers and declare himself eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft in April. According to many NFL scouts, Bray finds himself anywhere from the fourth to the ninth best quarterback prospect in the upcoming draft class, as of right now, considering which other players at his position have already announced they will enter the draft.
Normally, you would say that would be good enough to make yourself eligible, but Bray may be making a big mistake by leaving Tennessee early. He has been rather inconsistent, especially in key moments of big games. In 2012, in a season which saw the Vols finish 5-7 and once again bowl ineligible and also led to the firing of head coach Derek Dooley, Bray completed 268-of-451 passes [good for just 59.4 percent] with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Overall, Bray has thrown for 69 touchdowns at Tennessee as opposed to 28 interceptions. He did double his touchdown total from his sophomore season, but much his numbers came in garbage time this past season. While he did have some big games, they were generally against lesser opponents, such as his monster games this past season against Troy, Missouri, Akron and Georgia State. He did have one of his better games of his career against the South Carolina Gamecocks, who were BCS Bowl eligible at No. 10 this season, but he was also quite bad against the Florida gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs, who are the other top teams he faced.
But the low point of his year came with a benching against the Vanderbilt Commodores. After completing just 11-of-29 passes for 103 yards and a pair of interceptions, Bray was pulled from the game. With only a strong performance against the lowly Kentucky Wildcats in the season finale, it may have left a sour taste in the minds of many NFL teams.
The bottom line is that while the potential is there, Bray may have been better suited returning for one more season under new head coach Butch Jones. He is a big, physical quarterback with a strong arm, but another year could have done him a world of good.
Especially if he actually won a couple of big games against solid opponents. He has not been able to do that with his time as a Volunteer.