2023 NFL Draft prospect Hendon Hooker suffers season-ending injury in Tennessee loss

The Tennessee Volunteers suffered a devastating defeat this weekend, and their star 2023 NFL Draft prospect is now out for the remainder of the season.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker sustained a torn ACL in his left knee on Saturday night in the Volunteers’ 63-38 loss to South Carolina, the school announced on Sunday. The sixth-year senior’s college career is now over.

Thank you @henhook2 🙏#VFL pic.twitter.com/7IlJWpFOmj

Hooker, who had been a leading Heisman Trophy contender for much of the season, suffered the injury in the fourth quarter, fumbling when the non-contact injury occurred.

Now Hooker, who will turn 25 in January, has an uncertain path toward the NFL. Age could be a factor in his evaluation — he’s a couple months older than Chargers QB Justin Herbert — as could the wide-open looks the explosive Vols offense provided him. But prior to the injury, Hooker’s draft stock had been on the rise, perhaps even in the top-50 picture overall.

Hooker might not be able to do much, workout-wise, leading up to next April’s draft as he recovers from the ACL tear. The injury now adds one more concern for evaluators when it comes to selecting the talented signal-caller.

The 6-4, 218-pound (school measurements) Hooker completed 229-of-329 passes (69.6%) for 3,135 yards, 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions this season. He also ran for 430 yards and five scores. Hooker’s career ascent started last season after transferring from Virginia Tech to Tennessee. Although he didn’t begin the 2021 season as the starter, he finished with a 31:3 TD-INT ratio and ran for five TDs.

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