ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit has been a frequent visitor to Knoxville this season with his appearances on the College GameDay set. The longtime broadcaster will also be on the call for Saturday night’s game against Kentucky, alongside Chris Fowler.
Heading into week nine of the college football season, Herbstreit is high on the Volunteers. Herbstreit listed Tennessee as the No. 2 team in his own personal rankings, right behind Ohio State and ahead of Georgia and Michigan.
When asked why he has Tennessee over Georgia, Herbstreit’s answer was simple… and a little obvious.
“Hendon Hooker,” Herbstreit said with a long pause. “That’s it! That’s it. Hendon Hooker.”
“Josh Heupel and Tennessee’s offense, man, Hendon Hooker right now is that guy,” Herbstreit continued on to say. “Now I’m not saying he couldn’t sputter. But right now, based on these first eight weeks, I think if you’re looking at separating Tennessee from anybody, it’s the way they can outscore anybody that they’ve played. And again, I know they could slip against Kentucky. They could lose obviously at Georgia. But right now, they are just dynamic on that side of the ball.”
More from RTI: Tennessee Reveals Dark Mode Uniforms With Black Helmets
Tennessee’s offense has been in a class of its own this season. The Vols boast the No. 1 offense in the country totaling more than 571 yards on average per game. The next highest, Georgia, is at 526.6 average yards per game. Tennessee’s offense also sits as No. 1 in scoring offense (50.1 PPG), No. 2 in passing offense (368.9 YPG), and No. 2 in team passing efficiency (198.58).
Hendon Hooker currently leads the SEC in quarterback rating (190.84) and is more than 17 points higher than the next quarterback (Will Levis, Kentucky). The second-year Tennessee quarterback is second in the SEC in passing touchdowns and total passing yards, while also tied for the fewest interceptions thrown in the league with just one.
No. 3 Tennessee will host No. 19 Kentucky this Saturday night under the lights of Neyland Stadium. The Vols will be debuting brand-new black helmets this Saturday as a part of the all-black Dark Mode look.
Check out the full clip from ESPN here.