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Commentary: Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker is the key to team's success

The season started with frustration over the quarterback position, but Hooker has taken control of the Vols offense heading into a big game against Ole Miss.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — This season started with frustration from fans over the quarterback position for Tennessee football.

Joe Milton was named the starter, but wasn't able to move the ball down the field well. The offense didn't have much flow against Bowling Green and Pittsburgh.

If that was the best the Vols could do, fans said it felt like another season where Tennessee didn't have an answer for the most important position on the field.

That was until Hendon Hooker came in.

Granted, when he did it wasn't all smiles and rainbows. Hooker turned the ball over a lot, a big flaw during camp as well. The one that sticks out most is the interception late against Pittsburgh that basically ended the game.

Hooker transformed into a different player after that game. He hasn't thrown an interception since. After fumbling problems early, he hasn't coughed up the ball in SEC play.

He ranks fifth nationally in passer rating. That statistic also ranks first in the SEC. That means Hooker is above Heisman candidates Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

He's also in the top 20 for passing touchdowns, despite playing only four and a half games this season.

His success is a major reason why there is chatter the Vols could upset Ole Miss on Saturday. Hooker is starting to receive national recognition for his efforts too.

The quarterback is often called a leader and tough by coaches and teammates. He's not afraid to take a big hit while running the ball.

Wide receiver JaVonta Payton also called him goofy. Hooker likes to dance and also partakes in some rapping to keep the guy loose.

It just seemed like he has it all for the moment, and he could really take a big step on making sure he's the long term quarterback with solid performance on Saturday.,

He's a big reason why this team is coming into its own and maybe a solution to nexin year's question of who will be the starting quarterback.