Tennessee’s QB Hendon Hooker tears ACL, ending Heisman campaign


Simply saying that Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker was one of the best players in college football during the 2022 season would sell the two-threat gunslinger short.

He was awesome.

Hooker was the driving force behind the Vols’ transformation from a 7-6 roster a year ago to a 9-2 team that rivals the best teams the SEC has to offer. He’s helped the Volunteers lead the nation with 46.5 points per game while making a strong case for winning the Heisman Trophy.

  • Hendon Hooker Stats (2022): 69.6% comp rate, 3,135 passing yards, 27 TD, 2 INT

Unfortunately, Hooker’s magical season has come to an end.

Also see: Top 10 college football quarterbacks: Drake Maye, CJ Stroud and Hendon Hooker are all struggling

Hendon Hooker goes into the NFL draft with a big question mark

NCAA Football: Tennessee in South Carolina
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During Saturday’s loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks, Hooker executed an options play before falling to the ground untouched. Hooker left the game immediately and did not return.

The official medical prognosis came out on Sunday and it’s not good.

The volunteers announced that Hooker tore the ACL in his left knee. He will miss the rest of the season.

With Hooker’s season now over, the lengthy recovery time from injuries is also having a profound impact on his standing in the NFL Draft. Hooker, already predicted to be a first-round pick, won’t be able to go through pre-draft athletic practice, depriving teams of another chance to evaluate his skills.

Not to mention, Hooker likely won’t be able to step onto the field until late in the 2023 NFL season. Remember Odell Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in February and it was only recently erased. Sure, everyone is unique, and OBJ and Hooker won’t share the exact same recovery timeline, but it won’t be months apart.

Basically, any team looking to pick Hooker can no longer expect him to be ready to take over as the starting QB from day one.

It may not affect his long-term prospects, but it’s another factor that will slow down one of the NFL’s best incoming draft prospects, and Hooker is entering the pros at 25 as a slightly older prospect than he is he’s coming new team.

However, it probably won’t matter. NFL scouts like Hooker for his cannon arm in addition to his mobility, but don’t be surprised if there’s a lot of talk about the injury during the pre-draft evaluation process. We’ll see how that affects his draft pool.

Also Read: Heisman Watch 2022: Caleb Williams Climbs Heisman Trophy Rankings Ahead of Week 13

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