Tennessee football: Hendon Hooker’s rank among Vols’ Heisman robberies

Sep 10, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning is greeted by Vol mascot Smokey before the Vanderbilt game Nov. 29, 1997, at Neyland Stadium. It was Manning’s final home game.0207 Kcsp Peyton 812
Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning is greeted by Vol mascot Smokey before the Vanderbilt game Nov. 29, 1997, at Neyland Stadium. It was Manning’s final home game.0207 Kcsp Peyton 812 /

1997. 1. 839. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Quarterback. Peyton Manning. player

Winner: Charles Woodson

Every single standard used to cost Hank Lauricella and Johnny Majors the Heisman was thrown out when it came to Peyton Manning. Heck, the standards used for the previous two Heisman winners, Ohio State Buckeyes running back Eddie Georgia and Florida Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel, were thrown out the window.

Of course, it would change with Tennessee football on the ballot. All of a sudden, in 1997, stats and value didn’t matter. Instead, it came down to being the best player on the best team. Woodson was the best player on the Michigan Wolverines, who finished No. 1.

Being a cornerback and return specialist who occasionally played both side of the ball but didn’t have near the touches Manning had didn’t matter. What was used against Manning was losing to Florida, the Vols’ rival, for a third straight year as a starter.

However, voters gave the Heisman to Georgia in 1995 despite Ohio State losing to Michigan, their rival, which actually cost them the Big Ten Championship. Manning at least won the SEC Championship in 1997. They also ignored Wuerffel losing to Florida State in 1996, his rival. Remember, that rematch hadn’t yet happened.

Next. Ranking all 17 Vols conference championship teams in history. dark

Simply put, the rewritten standard only came for somebody involved with Tennessee football, which combined with the inconsistencies this year, gives credibility to the idea that voters have it out for the Vols. There’s no way all four players should’ve been second.