Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker speaks on ‘salary cap’ discussion at SEC Media Days

Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker takes questions during his news conference Thursday at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker takes questions during his news conference Thursday at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

From start to finish, the topic of NIL in college football echoed at the 2022 SEC Media Days this week at the College Football Hall of Fame.

On Monday, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin posed a solution to conversations regarding the potential of unfair recruiting, suggesting that college football follow the lead of the NFL and have team-wide salary caps monitored by coaches to direct funds.

On Thursday, Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker shared his take on the idea.

“I don’t think it should be a salary cap or anything,” Hooker said. “I feel like we should be able to get the most out of it that we can. At the end of the day, it’s our name, our image, our likeness. So, I don’t see why it should be a limit on that.”

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Hooker has benefited greatly from being able to earn from his name, image and likeness. According to the website On3, his estimated NIL valuation is $654,000, putting him at No. 24 among all college football players.

His most recent benefit from NIL was a pre-SEC Media Days trip to New York City with Spyre Sports Group, where Hooker and teammate Cedric Tillman made an appearance on the Nasdaq billboard in Times Square. The two met with Nasdaq, Barstool Sports, Fanatics and other brands on the trip.

“You know, it’s a new thing, and I feel like it’s a great thing for us to be able to go through this and adventure out and learn things that we’re interested in. Not just, you know, football, but, you know, business and putting us in a businessman’s mindset early on in life,” Hooker said.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel spoke on Hendon’s NIL success in his opening statement Thursday.

“Hendon is all things good about NIL. …” Heupel said. “His impact in our community, the youth inside of our community, I think that’s exactly what NIL should be. So proud of what he’s done. It’s an opportunity to educate and empower our student-athletes, which is what college football and the collegiate experience is all about.”