Gunnar Hoak was never able to secure the starting job during his time in Lexington. After redshirting in 2016 he backed up Stephen Johnson in 2017 and Terry Wilson in 2018. He appeared in four games last season and completed 13 of 26 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
The spark he provided in the season opener versus Central Michigan was undoubtedly his greatest on field contribution.
After the Cats completed their 10-win season with a win over Penn State, Hoak still faced the prospect of entering the 2019 season as Terry Wilson’s backup once again. Speculation about what he would do continued to grow and he ultimately put his name in the portal and transferred to Ohio State.
As spring turned into summer and summer moved on to the stat fall camp, the buzz kept growing that Hoak was giving Georgia transfer Justin Fields a run for his money for the starting Buckeyes QB1 job.
The more this sentiment persisted, the more the BBN braced to lose their collective minds at the thought of Hoak leaving Kentucky as the No. 2 and waltzing up to Columbus and winning the job.
All of that angst can be put on hold, for now.
What if Gunnar Hoak had won the job? It still wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Sure, the optics of a guy who couldn’t break through and start at Kentucky, while having the advantage of knowing the system, transferring and starting at THE Ohio State University are hard to phathom.
Having said that, look at who Hoak would have beaten out for the job. Justin Fields is very talented, but he is at Ohio State via transfer as well after trying unsuccessfully to unseat Jake Fromm at Georgia. Fields was 27 for 39 for 328 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in his one season in Athens. There isn’t a lot to go on with either one of them. That’s what made the pending anxiety over Hoak potentially starting so hard to understand. It’s not like he was competing against J.T. Barrett, Troy Smith, Bobby Hoying or Dwayne Haskins.
There is still a scenario(s) where Gunner Hoak could make a start or multiple starts this season. If that’s the case, wish him the best. He’s clearly moved on and so should we.