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'I'm extremely excited': Vols QB Hendon Hooker speaks on returning to Tennessee next season

Hooker said when he told head coach Josh Heupel he was returning they both agreed on one thing, to go to the SEC Championship next year.
Credit: AP
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) throws to a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker spoke publicly on Tuesday for the first time since he announced he was returning to the Vols.

That announcement came this past Sunday.

“I’m extremely excited," Hooker said. "I’m ready to lead  and lead these new guys coming in. Ready to continue building the culture at Tennessee.”

The quarterback said when he told head coach Josh Heupel, it was casual. They were just coming off the field when Heupel asked him his plans. Hooker told him, Heupel was happy and then they agreed on one thing, to go to the SEC Championship next year.

"He said, 'Let's go to Atlanta.' I said, 'Let's make it happen,'" Hooker said.

Hooker said he was projected to go as a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft if he chose to go pro. He said he wanted to go higher than that.

Those on the team are excited he's coming back too.

“In a lot of ways it was an early Christmas present," offensive coordinator Alex Golesh said. "It’s gratifying he wants to be here and lead the offense. So proud of what he’s done and the next step he can take.”

Hooker has thrown for 2,567 yards and 26 passing touchdowns to only three interceptions so far this season. He's also rushed for 561 yards and five touchdowns.

According to NCAA.com, Hooker ranks third in passer efficiency in the entire nation.

    

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