Tennessee QB, Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker suffers torn ACL

Tennessee QB, Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker suffers torn ACL originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Tennessee Volunteers quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Hendon Hooker will miss the remainder of the 2022 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced Sunday.

Hooker sustained the season-ending injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 63-38 loss to South Carolina. On an option play, Hooker was running with the ball and made a hard cut before falling to the ground due to the non-contact injury.

"Hendon's incredible journey has been defined by faith, perseverance and strength," the Vols said in a statement. "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."

Hooker's rise to stardom was one of the best stories of the 2022 college football season. In his second year with the Vols after transferring from Virginia Tech, Hooker put together a Heisman Trophy campaign and helped Tennessee climb as high as No. 2 in the AP poll, its highest ranking since 2001.

Hooker will finish his final college season with 3,135 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 69.6% completion percentage in 11 games. The 6-foot-4 signal caller also rushed for 430 yards and five scores.

Hooker, who turns 25 in January, is among the top-rated quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft class along with Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Kentucky's Will Levis and Florida's Anthony Richardson.

Tennessee will turn to redshirt senior Joe Milton III at quarterback. Milton III, who transferred from Michigan in 2021, went 4-for-8 through the air for 108 yards and one touchdown in relief of Hooker against the Gamecocks.

The No. 9 Vols, whose College Football Playoff hopes are now likely dashed with two losses, close out their regular season on the road versus Vanderbilt on Saturday.