Hendon Hooker secures UT’s highest Heisman finish since 1997

Although he was not a finalist, Hendon Hooker earned the University of Tennessee’s highest Heisman finish in over two decades.
Although he was not a finalist, Hendon Hooker earned the University of Tennessee’s highest Heisman finish in over two decades.
Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 9:02 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 11, 2022 at 9:03 AM CST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Quarterback Hendon Hooker earned the highest Heisman finish by a Volunteer since 1997.

Although he was not a finalist, Hooker received 17 first-place votes and recorded 226 points in the final vote. He won the Nissan fan vote.

However, he ranked below UCS’s Caleb Williams, who won the award with 2,031 points. The finalists for the Heisman Trophy were TCU’s quarterback Max Duggan, who finished with 1,420 points; Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, who secured 539 points; and Stenson Bennet with Georgia, who ranked in fourth place with 349 points.

Hooker is Tennessee’s highest finisher since Peyton Manning took second place in 1997.

Hooker is the sixth player in Vol history to secure a top-five finish. The others include George Cafego (4th - 1939), Hank Lauricella (2nd – 1951), Johnny Majors (2nd – 1956), Heath Shuler (2nd – 1993) and Manning.

It is no question how instrumental Hooker was to the University of Tennessee’s outstanding football season. He finished with 3,135 yards passing and 27 touchdown passes against just two interceptions. However, his season ended early after he suffered a torn ACL during the loss against South Carolina.

He was the only player in the nation with 25 or more touchdown passes with two or fewer interceptions.

Much of Vol nation believed Hooker deserved to be a finalist, even Coach Josh Heupel. “Hendon deserves to be at that ceremony. He’s one of the best players in college football. The growth of our program is a direct correlation to his play. He’s a fierce competitor and I hope he has that opportunity,” Heupel said during a media conference.

On top of his superb play on the field, Hooker also signed two NIL deals with French’s Mustard and Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville.

Hooker has been a role model to many young athletes and has used his platform to spread his faith, co-authoring a children’s book with his brother Alston titled, “The ABCs of Scripture for Athletes.”

“One thing I wanna do is be a positive light in my community and in people’s lives,” Hooker said after receiving a special note from a young Vol fan.

Hooker is on track to earn his master’s degree in agricultural leadership after securing his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Virginia Tech prior to coming to Tennessee.