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Tennessee Vol Football 2021 Player Spotlight: Hendon Hooker

Hendon Hooker

Where does Hendon Hooker fit in the Vol’s crowded quarterback room?

Does his past hint to potential early success in Josh Heupel’s high-flying offense

No one outside the program truly knows who QB1 is.

However, a quick look at Hooker’s stats to date might prove useful in projecting his future at Tennessee. 

Virginia Tech

2019 – In his first year as a starter for VT, HH put up solid numbers. In just 10 games, he threw for 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions, completed 61.1% of his passes for 1,555 yards, and rushed for another 356 yards and 5 scores.

These stats placed Hooker on darkhorse draft radars and established him as a true dual-threat quarterback. 

2020 – During the freaky, weird, COVID-shortened 2020 season, Hooker arguably got better. While he accounted for fewer total passing yards (1,339) and more INTs (5), his completion percentage jumped dramatically to 65.3%.

In addition, he scorched defenses on the ground, tallying 620 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. 

Following the 2020 season, Hooker announced his decision to transfer to Tennessee. 

Dobbs reborn?

Any true, weather-worn Tennessee fan appreciates a dual-threat quarterback. 

We’ve been torched by them for years (think Tua, Hurts, etc). And once, in what feels like a land of make-believe, we even had one of our own, Josh Dobbs.  

Year after year, we cheered as Dobbs, and his versatility covered a myriad of Butch Jonesian flaws. 

Many, myself included, didn’t appreciate how dynamic Dobbs was, or how bad we would have been without him. 

Looking back begs the question, “could Hooker win the job, and play a similar role in 2021?”

I think so. 

Big, Athletic, Fast

At 6’4”, 228 lbs, Hendon Hooker is even bigger than Dobbs (6’3”, 216 lbs). 

Add in a respectable 4.67 40-yard dash and a whippy, strong arm, and it’s no wonder he has drawn high praise from scouts and former players alike.

Optimistically predicting Hooker’s future, all-time college great Tahj Boyd described him as “raw and super talented.” 

And, just one year ago, draft boards were ablaze with talk of Hendon Hooker as a sleeper pick in the 2021 draft. 

While that didn’t pan out, it may be a blessing for both Hooker and the Vols. 

HH is a big-armed, well-built, mobile quarterback who has the opportunity to thrive at Tennessee. 

The Right Fit?

Josh Heupel is no dummy. 

He is an offensive genius, who understands how quickly a dual-threat quarterback can elevate a team and minimize deficiencies. 

I truly believe Heupel exists on another plane of coaching than Butch, but it’s possible that Hooker could replicate some of the magic we watched Jones exploit with Josh Dobbs under center. 

To get really freaked out, watch the tape. Hooker even looks a lot like our favorite astronaut on the field. 

Hendon Hooker still has an uphill battle to become the starting quarterback.

But if he does win the job, don’t be surprised by where his talent takes him in 2021 and beyond.

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