Hooker: Sanford is ‘fantastic’

Alan Hooker, the father of four-star quarterback Hendon Hooker, sheds light on the impending closure of his son’s recruitment and why Notre Dame is a major contender.

In less than one week four-star quarterback Hendon Hooker will see Notre Dame for the first time after picking up an offer on Feb. 16.

The Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley product’s father, Alan Hooker, spoke with Irish Illustrated about his son’s recruitment. The elder Hooker was an All-American quarterback at North Carolina A&T State in the mid-80s. He went on to sign a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys and would later achieve hall of fame status in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference.

“We’ll be there the 13th and 14th, so this upcoming Sunday and Monday,” Alan Hooker said. “I’m in Houston currently for work, so if nothing changes, I’ll get back to Greensboro later this week and then we’ll fly out.”

Hooker was eager to speak to the role Notre Dame quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford has played his son’s recruitment. 

“We’ve had many enjoyable conversations with coach Sanford,” Hooker said. “He’s a fantastic guy. He has the kids’ good fortunes at heart. He’s not just about winning national championships, which is very important, but he’s more about life after football and what can happen after graduation.

“First of all, (we’re visiting) because of Mike Sanford and the coaching staff. I love how they talk about how the kids fit in at school and how they develop men and not just football players. And, we like the small class sizes. They just have been forthright about everything.”

Hooker claims offers from Clemson, Indiana, Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

A decision is expected either this month or in the early weeks of April. Notre Dame is the first school outside of programs in North Carolina to receive a visit from Hooker this year. It’s also the only visit currently on his schedule.

“A few Midwestern schools have come on recently, but other than Notre Dame, I don’t think we’re going to make it out there,” Hooker said. “The fact that Notre Dame has watched him throw in person and watched his film, they’ve been in the ballgame for a while and they’ve shown they are serious about him.”

Hooker, who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in education, is currently executive vice president of Veritas Sports Academy, a boys-only college preparatory high school located in Greensboro that is dedicated to forming men of faith through athletics. It’s no surprise that academics could determine the fate of where his son chooses to attend college.

“He doesn’t have his favorites figured out,” Hooker said. “West Virginia and Virginia Tech have been recruiting him hard, too. I’ll tell you what could definitely be a factor. Hendon will have completed 30 semester hours of academic work. So we’ll examine that along with the AP courses he’s taken and see how they actually transfer. We’ll look at the course catalog and see what carries over.”

If academics figure to factor in greatly, then quarterback numbers is just the opposite.

“We’re not concerned about that,” Hooker said. “If he’s going to an elite school, there’s going to be elite quarterbacks all around him. I know the importance of competition. It keeps them sharp. And if you look at how quarterbacks have done when they’ve emerged from a quarterback competition, they’ve done very well.”

Notre Dame is also heavily recruiting Cedar Hill (Texas) four-star quarterback Avery Davis, who will visit for a second time for Junior Day on March 19.

“I think it’s a first-come, first-serve type of thing (for quarterbacks),” Hooker said. “They’ve offered three quarterbacks, and it’s whoever commits first.”

Proximity from home won’t factor in much, either.

“I can see him leaving me,” said Hooker laughing. “He’s always said he wants to leave and go far and get out. I’d like to see him try leave his mom. We’ll see about that when he gets homesick.”


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