National Expert Has Bold Hendon Hooker Heisman Projection

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    Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker will be back in 2022 to lead the Volunteers for one last season. After rewriting a few sections in the Tennessee record book during his inaugural year in Knoxville, the expectations are only raised heading into next season.

    Knowing how in-touch he was able to become in Josh Heupel’s offensive system, many are looking at Hooker to potentially cement himself as one of the best quarterbacks in a loaded SEC conference. If he is able to raise his level of play on the field and lead the Vols to a good season, Hooker may even wind up in some Heisman conversations throughout the season.

    But with everything that goes into the award and the talented competitors at play, could Hooker really have a chance at taking home college football’s most prestigious individual award? One national sports outlet says yes.

    On Friday, Fox Sports’ RJ Young listed out his 2022 Heisman Sleepers, with Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker at the No. 1 spot.

    As optimistic as the Tennessee football season is looking in certain ways, Young’s prediction certainly does fall in the “bold” category. Even taking Hooker out of the equation, the college football world already has several talented players that will very likely have their team in the playoffs and in championship contention.

    Regardless, though, since the end of the 2021 regular season, Hooker’s name has popped up twice in relation to the Heisman conversation.

    Most recently, toward the end of January, Hooker was given 60/1 odds in the debut release from Caesar’s Sportsbook. Additionally, Hooker was listed as the seventh-ranked quarterback from the SEC in terms of highest Heisman odds.

    Then, just a month before that in December, Sports Betting AG also released their early Heisman Trophy odds. At the time, Hooker was given odds of 40/1, which was good for No. 23 among all college football players.

    Since he was brought out to the field to lead the Tennessee offense, Hendon Hooker has matched up with Josh Heupel like peanut butter and jelly. In the duo’s inaugural season in Knoxville, Hooker threw for 2,945 yards and 31 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Additionally, Hooker ran for 620 yards and put in five touchdowns on the ground.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.