Hendon Hooker, QB for Top 10 Tennessee: Gospel Music and Prayer Are My Pre-Game Prep

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Hendon Hooker, QB for Top 10 Tennessee: Gospel Music and Prayer Are My Pre-Game Prep

Hendon Hooker, QB for Top 10 Tennessee: Gospel Music and Prayer Are My Pre-Game Prep


A senior quarterback who has become a Heisman Trophy contender while guiding Tennessee into the Top 10 says gospel music and prayer are key to him becoming focused before games.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker passed for 349 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 112 yards and another touchdown in his team's 38-33 victory over Florida Saturday, catapulting the Volunteers to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll at 4-0 and Hooker into Heisman Trophy contention.

Asked before the game about his pre-game ritual, he said it involves gospel music, prayer and a devotional.

"I just go into meditation mode. I put my gospel playlists on, really just listen to a lot of slow jams and really just relax," he told the media. "You know, kind of go through the locker room, dap up everyone, just make sure to let them know, 'Hey, I'm ready to roll.' And they give me the reassurance back, you know, by the look in their eye, that they're ready to roll, too.

"So yeah, just listen to my gospel playlist, meditate. Me and [teammate] Joe [Milton], we have a devotional book that we read every day, so before the game, we'll read one or two pages," Hooker said. "That's pretty much the pre-game ritual."

Asked his definition of "slow jams," Hooker said that, too, involves gospel music.

"Nothing but gospel," Hooker said. "Kiki Sheard is my go-to – either Kiki Sheard, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond."

Hooker, who transferred to Tennessee from Virginia Tech before the 2021 season, has been open about his Christian faith. Earlier this year, he shared his testimony at First Baptist Church in Morristown, Tenn.

He and his brother, Alston, released a book filled with their favorite memory verses. The book – The ABC's of Scripture for Athletes – is designed for children in the form of a comic.

"My dad used to lead activities all the time in children's church," Hooker said at the church. "We used to have game nights where we would play basketball or have laser tag, but it was always a message within the game. And that was something I took away from that – that I can use the game to get the message out there and spread the word of Jesus Christ."

Related:

Bryce Young, QB for No. 1 Bama: I Want to 'Embody Christ in all that I Do'

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker Wants to 'Spread the Word of Jesus Christ' Through His Platform

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brett Carlsen/Stringer


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.