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Hendon Hooker injury: Tennessee star QB to miss rest of season after tearing ACL in loss to South Carolina

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Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear in his left knee midway through the fourth quarter of Volunteer Tournament #5. 63-38 road losses to South Carolina on Saturday. Tennessee announced the extent of the injury the Sunday afternoon that ends the potential All-American season.

The Heisman Trophy contender had the ball in the zone and went down with a non-contact injury to his left knee while attempting to blast a hole to gain yards. He fell to the ground in obvious pain and limped off the field into an injury tent. The play was reviewed and deemed a failure after Hooker was initially eliminated. Hooker eventually went under his own power to the dressing room, with substitute Joe Milton entering the game in his place.

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Hooker was the Tennessee Dream Season MVP. The senior had 3,135 passing yards, 430 rushing yards, and 32 touchdowns, while only having two interceptions for the Volunteers’ heavy offense. Hooker threw five touchdowns, Tennessee’s first upset victory over then No. 1 Alabama since the year before Nick Saban took over in 2006.

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The senior moved to Tennessee from Virginia Tech ahead of last season and became a fullback after the second week of the 2021 season. Last season, he threw for 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and three interceptions, and added 613 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Disappointing end

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Hooker had one of the best quarterback seasons in Tennessee history. In just 11 games, Hooker ranks 5th in program history for passing yards in a season and has two of the top five touchdown seasons in program history, joining names such as Peyton Manning and Josh Dobbs.

Hooker will still have a chance to earn a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist for his efforts. Unfortunately, missing the regular season finale and missing the championship weekend will likely hurt his chances. The Volunteers will not be the same with Joe Milton III on the lineup in place of Saturday’s Hooker against Vanderbilt.

NFL Draft

Hooker’s unfortunate injury could derail the start of his NFL career more than his college football career. Hooker was already crushed by his age, as he will be 25 during the 2023 NFL Draft. With such a lingering injury, Hooker could be sidelined for his entire first season in the league.

CBS Sports Ryan Wilson ranks Hooker as a Day 2 pick for the 2023 NFL Draft, but it’s unclear how much his inability to work with teams could limit his growth potential in the process. However, his 944 career passes and winning work ethic should give him the opportunity to move to the next level.




Source: www.cbssports.com

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