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Tennessee football: Hendon Hooker shut out of awards a major gut punch

It was bad enough that Hendon Hooker didn’t receive an invite to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York Saturday. However, the Tennessee football signal caller lost out on both awards he was up for Thursday as well.

At the College Football Awards Show on ESPN, Hooker was a finalist for the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. Both are similar to the Heisman in that they go to the best player, but they obviously have different voters.

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams won both of them. Hooker and Williams were finalists for the Walter Camp award along with TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan, Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum and Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud.

As far as the Maxwell Award, Hooker was a finalist alongside Stroud and Williams. In an outright travesty, Hooker wasn’t even a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, which goes to the top quarterback. Duggan won that award.

Given the fact that he didn’t even receive a Heisman invite, it was unlikely that Hooker would win either of these awards. However, it was still a gut punch to Tennessee football.

In 1997, although Peyton Manning didn’t win the Heisman, he swept all the other major awards of the time. That included the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award, and he also won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

It was a big win for Tennessee football to have Jalin Hyatt win the Biletnikoff Award, but Hooker walking away empty-handed just doesn’t seem right. He did so much for the program.

To be fair, Stroud is also in the same boat. That’s actually a bit crazy given the fact that by mid-October, it seemed to only be down to those two players.

Still, at least Stroud got a Heisman invite. Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett received an invite over Hooker to that, which was a huge problem.

Looking back on his career, though, even with the injury, Hooker returned Tennessee football to prominence. He received numerous other postseason awards. Regardless of what he didn’t win here, he has cemented his status as a legend on Rocky Top.

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