Grad transfer Jarrett Guarantano to start at quarterback for Washington State

<p><p>PULLMAN – Washington State’s quarterback competition began in the spring and dominated headlines throughout fall camp. Game week came along, and a starting signal-caller still had not been named.</p></p><p><p>It went on forever, right down to the wire. But at last, the Cougs have made their selection.</p></p><p><p>Graduate transfer Jarrett Guarantano is expected to start for WSU in its season opener Saturday at home against Utah State, a source with knowledge of the situation said. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.</p></p><p><p>The general public learned of the development just 10 hours before game time, when Cougfan.com reported that Guarantano had beaten out sophomore Jayden de Laura in a close race. De Laura started all four of the Cougars’ games in last year’s abbreviated, four-game season.</p></p><p><p>The two had been neck and neck for the nod in the latter part of August. Coach Nick Rolovich admitted that settling on a starter had been made difficult by their equally steady practice performances.</p></p><p><p>“Seen some strong development from both guys,” Rolovich said earlier this week. “We’re playing better football, which is making it a little harder. One guy’s got to take the first snap and I think we’ll feel good with whatever decision we make.”</p></p><p><p>Guarantano, a 32-game starter at the University of Tennessee, brings poise and experience to WSU’s offense. Rolovich has commended his maturity and pocket presence multiple times this preseason.</p></p><p><p>The 6-foot-4, 220-pound New Jersey native completed 494 of 808 passes (61.1%) during his four-year stay with the Volunteers, accumulating 6,174 yards and 38 touchdowns against 17 interceptions in 41 total games. He rushed for another five scores.</p></p><p><p>Beginning his career in Knoxville, Tennessee, as the country’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback recruit, Guarantano showed promise early, but wound up being an off-and-on starter.</p></p><p><p>Guarantano struggled last year with decision-making and accuracy issues and lost his starting job midway through the season. He entered the NCAA transfer portal in mid-December, then about three weeks later announced that he’d be signing with the Pullman school.</p></p><p><p>Throughout fall camp, Guarantano has looked crisp in the run-and-shoot offense’s short passing concepts. Other traits that probably factored into the decision include his quick release, understated mobility and veteran knack for controlling the pace of this offense.</p></p><p><p>“Jarrett is a smooth thrower with a good knowledge of offense and a good idea of, you say game experience, but I see a real maturity in the pocket from him,” Rolovich said last week.</p></p><p><p>De Laura can play in as many as four games and still take a redshirt to retain the year of eligibility. Rolovich has indicated that he’d also be comfortable playing junior Cammon Cooper, who was eliminated from a three-man QB race early last week.</p></p><p><p>Rolovich said last week that he was “leaning against” platooning quarterbacks this season, and that “there is not some diabolical plan to play one in Game 1 and one in Game 2.</p></p><p><p>“If it happens, it happens, whether it’s an injury or not a great performance,” he said.</p></p>