Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL sustained late in the Volunteers’ loss at South Carolina on Saturday, the school confirmed Sunday. Hooker planted his leg while attempting to run and immediately fell to the turf in apparent pain, fumbling the ball as the Gamecocks recovered. The transfer from Virginia Tech emerged as one of college football’s top quarterbacks over the past two seasons and was considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner for much of this fall.
“Quarterback Hendon Hooker sustained a torn ACL in his left knee on Saturday night,” Tennessee wrote in a press release. “Hendon and the Hooker family appreciate all of your prayers and support. Hendon’s incredibly journey has been defined by faith, perseverance and strength. Obstacles have never stood in the way on his path to greatness. Forever a Tennessee legend and the ultimate teammate, we know Hendon will come back stronger than ever as he embarks on a promising NFL future.”
The news means Tennessee likely turns to backup quarterback Joe Milton for Saturday’s regular-season finale at Vanderbilt, which has won two-straight SEC games. Although the Volunteers have almost certainly been eliminated from contention for the College Football Playoff, they are still in the mix for an appearance in a coveted New Year’s Six bowl game. A loss to Vanderbilt would put their New Year’s Six hopes in serious jeopardy.
Hooker projected as an early-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft prior to his injury. The former four-star recruit out of Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley transferred to Tennessee ahead of the 2021 season and won the job from Milton early last fall, never looking back.
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Hooker led coach Josh Heupel’s offense to the top of college football, completing 69.6% of his passes for 3,135 yards and 27 touchdowns against just two interceptions this season. He has also posted 430 yards rushing and five more scores on the ground..
This report will be updated.