Tennessee Star Returning For Super Senior Season

    by -

    Sugar Bowl Preview: #7 Baylor Vs. #8 Ole Miss

    Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker is returning to Knoxville for one more season, the dual threat quarterback announced on his Twitter Sunday afternoon.

    Hooker — a Virginia Tech transfer — completely rejuvenated Tennessee’s offense this season under first year head coach Josh Heupel.

    Heupel named Joe Milton Tennessee’s starting quarterback before the season and started the first two games, struggling with his accuracy. After a Pittsburgh defensive lineman knocked Milton out in the second quarter of the September matchup, Hooker took over and never looked back.

    Hooker threw for 188 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Panthers while adding 49 yards on the ground. It wasn’t enough to earn the Vols a win, but it was enough to earn the starting job.

    From there, the senior quarterback was fantastic. Hooker totaled 2,567 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions. The 6-foot-4 quarterback was strong with his legs, totaling 561 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

    Hooker particularly shined in wins over Kentucky and Missouri, totaling 357 yards and four touchdowns against the Wildcats and 305 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers.

    The NCAAA afforded Hooker an opportunity to play a fifth season of college football due COVID-19 eligibility relief. Despite not participating in senior day activities, the quarterback said his plans were unclear after the Vols’ regular season finale against Vanderbilt.

    “Just kind of been focused on Vanderbilt this week and the gameplay that we had and preparing for their defense,” Hooker said of why he didn’t go through senior day. “They came in very energized from their impressive performance last week so just getting ready for them.”

    Hooker said he’d make a decision when “the time was right.”

    The time was right on Sunday with the quarterback deciding to try and improve his draft stock with one more collegiate season.

    Tennessee now waits for junior receiver Cedric Tillman to make a decision on his football future. Tillman enters the Music City Bowl needing 69 yards to be the first Tennessee receiver to total 1,000 yards since 2012.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.