ESPN college football analyst and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy was asked if it was a knee-jerk reaction to put Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker among his favorites for the Heisman Trophy.

“Knee-jerk? I don’t think it’s knee-jerk,” McElroy said. “He’s been on the short list for the past few weeks. The performances that we’ve seen from him almost every week, it’s difficult to make a case against him.”

McElroy said he’s not one of those analysts who just gives his Heisman list of about 8 guys and that’s it.

“I probably consider 15 guys on a week-to-week basis,” McElroy said.

Hooker went 21-of-30 passing for 385 yards and 5 touchdown passes, all going to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, in Saturday’s epic victory over Alabama. He threw 1 interception. Hooker also ran for 56 yards on 14 carries in the win that snapped Tennessee’s 15-game losing streak against Alabama.

For the season, Hooker has completed 70% of his passes and thrown for 1,817 yards, with 15 touchdowns and just the 1 interception from Saturday. He has a 187.7 passer rating.

McElroy was complimentary of Hooker’s entire performance, but his poise during the dramatic final moments in leading the Vols to a winning field goal in the final seconds is what really stood out for him.

“That to me was his Heisman moment,” McElroy said. “That was guts. That was poise. That’s what I’ll remember the most about the performance of Hendon Hooker and the entire Tennessee football team.”

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Sports betting in Tennessee officially launched on November 1, 2020, and many of the largest sportsbooks are live and operating in the volunteer state. Tennessee is only one of a handful of SEC football states with legalized sports betting.