Heisman Trophy Candidate Shares How He Prays Before Each Game

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Senior quarterback of the Tennessee Volunteers, Hendon Hooker, who is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious individual award in college football, shared how family, faith, and gratitude are part of his focus. According to Christian Headlines, Hooker was asked by a reporter to share his thoughts after a video went viral of him bowing on one knee in prayer just before kickoff. Hooker explained that he prays with gratitude for safe travels, for his family, and for his and his brother Alston’s football games.

Hooker said, “It’s the same prayer every time. I’m a routine type of guy…Just praying over my family, thanking God for a safe travel. I pray for my brother as he had his game. … [I’m] praying for his game and their safety. Then just praying that God touches my mind, my hands, my feet, to just go out there and do what He’s blessed me to do, to put on a show.” 


Hooker also shared that before games he listens to gospel music from musicians such as Kiki Sheard, Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond. He said that listening to his playlist helps him meditate and focus before going out onto the field. Also before games, Hooker shared that he and teammate Joe Milton, the backup quarterback, read devotional together. 

Proud of his Christian faith, Hooker, along with his brother Alston, released a book including their favorite memory verses. The book, ‘The ABC’s of Scripture for Athletes,’ was published in the form of a comic book for children. 


Hooker’s faith is inspiring to athletes who may feel the pressure that comes from playing college football, and for those in the NFL as well. Praying to the Lord before a game with gratitude reminds athletes of what is most important in life. Hooker is a faithful role model who shows other athletes, including youth, the meaning of playing their sports and of bringing God into their hearts and minds before, during, and after they play. 

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