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Thank You, Tennessee by Hendon Hooker

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 4

The only football being played is CBS at 3:00.

I forget who said it first, but Vol. and that’s this one thing they kept having. Tennessee?? That’s great. But you have to win the ball game. CBS at 3 o’clock, that’s what we want. That’s where we want to be.

And soon I understood what they meant. CBS game at 3:30 p.m. — Here’s his big SEC game of the week.you know what alabama is like everytime are you playing that game? that’s right. So I got the message: No one in Knoxville has been duped. They don’t want to hear “Tennessee is back”. I want to see it with my own eyes. Either you’re in her 3 o’clock game or you’re not. Either you matter or you don’t.

we are important now.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I wished this season was over…but I’m still very proud of what we’ve achieved. Thinking about it, we are important now It’s what I keep coming back for. It’s like this: If you’re going to tell the story of this season, you can’t leave Tennessee out.

Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

I remember when I first joined the team. It’s funny, but immediately my teammates were skeptical. I think it’s the “SEC trust” they all had. They couldn’t seem to imagine how some guys in the ACC could actually hit the ball. , made the linebacker touch the ground. Afterwards in the locker room everyone was like, “Oh, Hendon, I didn’t know you could move like that!! You’re fast!!” I can!!!” And I just shake my head with a big laugh. I appreciate it But it was funny to me, it was actually big. Because my main goal when I came here was to gain the trust and respect of my teammates. I knew I had to come to , and everything else would follow.

In my first year, I felt like I was starting to sow the seeds of success, even though I didn’t have a great record. Perhaps the biggest seed was planted in the game against Bama. Anyone who says that’s a different team is lying. everyone Stand up for Bama. And we were closer to winning last season than people think. But at the same time, “closer than people think” means nothing when you’ve been losing for 15 years. And the way last year really cemented that message for us. We were all fed up with these moral victories. I wanted the real thing.

And as for everything this year… man, I don’t even know what to say. It was the year of my life. I have many fond memories. We beat Pit in OT when they were ranked higher than us. Undefeated, he beats Florida when he’s having a GameDay in town. Defeat LSU in Death Valley. And every week it felt like more people were noticing. They look like great programs again. “

But we knew that if we really wanted to set the flag on this program, we would have to beat one team.And I didn’t even have to look What time was the match?

The only football being played is CBS at 3:00.

Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports

The funny thing is that Bama was my dad’s birthday this year. When I ask him what he wants for his birthday, he always says simply, “I want you to come to my house and clean my house.” But this time I simply didn’t even try. he said to me I need that win.”

It’s hard to pick a favorite moment against Bama, but it has to be right before the final possession. ? But the heap coach approached me and said: Or are you going now? ’ And I give him one of those appear I told him he’s hungry “

I’ve never been so proud after a game. I found my parents as soon as it was over. Her mother started shedding these big old tears while they held me. We can’t look ugly on TV. Tighten up. And of course, to her father… I just said, “Happy birthday.”

It was also very meaningful to be able to share the joy with my teammates. We’ve gotten a lot of attention this season, and we appreciate that. But personal is not what I’m talking about. And the thing that struck me most that night was how many others on the team had stepped up.

Chase’s kick to win?? Ha, I almost feel bad for chase. Because he made one of his greatest kicks of all time…and no one was surprised. That’s the high bar he set. I remember him running to the sidelines before that play. How nice. Game over. ’ Then he took off his helmet, knowing it was no longer needed.

And you can’t get to Chase’s kicks without Jarin Hyatt being the best receiver in the country. my man did his thing. But Jarin’s case runs even deeper than that. A lot of people had a lot of opinions about Jarin last year, but I know it was a disappointing season for him. How do you react? Jarin responded with nothing but hard work and growth. He changed his attitude, improved his technique and made those sacrifices. And to see it do so well… it’s a cool moment. That’s my brother.

But what was most satisfying about Bama was probably not even football. everyone’s face, do you know what i mean?? We’re talking beyond. Looking back in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years, Okay… I can give you the exact moment on this show that changed everything. Right at that moment.

It was perfect.

Carlos M. Saavedra/SI/Getty Images

Unfortunately, not everything is as perfect as Bama Games.

When playing against South Carolina, I hope it’s a sprained knee. That was the thought I had when I left the field. But then they took me to the injury tent and said, We don’t usually tell players what’s going on like this. But that’s your her ACL. ’ At that point, I almost cried, so I asked, ‘Did it break? They were like, “It looks like it.” I think the replay was being shown to everyone in slow motion when they told me so. So I hear about my injury in the same way watching stadiums full of spectators go ‘OOOOOHHHH’. To be honest, I was overwhelmed and at that point I started rolling my eyes.

I will never hide my feelings. But I also pride myself on having a strong will. So I forgave myself for a moment and cried in my tent. I didn’t discourage it. After that? I picked myself up and I was like: all right. Now you’re walking across this field with your head held high. Not just for your own strength, but for the strength of your comrades. I didn’t want them to worry about me when they were left to play soccer.

And I still feel that way. It was incredibly tough…a devastating injury. But my mentality from the jump is to 1. handle my own business with surgery and then rehab, and 2. get back on the team and be the leader they need.

They were really there for me as much as I was there for my teammates. I’ve talked to him a lot about what I think. I was like, ‘Man… I was in college all my life!! He knew better than anyone how frustrated I was that I didn’t get the chance. It was. The second half of the season wasn’t easy, but it meant a lot.

Kate Lachman/Tennessee Athletics

You’ve heard enough from me that I’m going to wrap up this article now because it’s time to focus on the Orange Bowl. And thank you for taking the time to watch me play, for pushing me, and for welcoming me into your Tennessee family with open arms.

This is not where my football career started. It’s Virginia Tech and I will always love them.

And this is not where I end my football career. I hope it’s the NFL. And I can’t wait to show them that I’m the best player in this draft.

but i guess this is where i am figured out my football career. That’s what Tennessee will always be for me. Condoledge, who was the SEC’s first black starting quarterback, is where he realized he didn’t have to dream crazy to be part of a great lineage that included Holloway. Or Reggie White, who has a significant legacy as a Christian athlete. Or Peyton Manning, who might be the greatest quarterback of all time. Of course, I never put myself in that group. But Tennessee really opened my eyes to the idea that I could work to get there—that I could try to build my own legacy. As a black quarterback, as a Christian athlete, as an NFL player, as a leader, and whatever else.

Interestingly, we were walking the Bol Walk on our way to the stadium for the Bama game. And while I’ve done Walks before, I had never experienced it with that level of hype. And I won’t even lie: walking in that crowd… I wanted to smile so much. Try. So I keep telling myself, you know— Hendon, don’t laugh. It’s Bama. It’s business. don’t crack. And I didn’t crack! Haha. But now I thought it was okay to tell the truth.

And it was just as special as that match… I would almost say the previous walk was just as special. what next? ? ? We are the Vols. we are together

For two years you guys made me feel that way.

I am honored to wear the Power T.

— Hendon

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