UK Football

Kentucky football’s No. 2 quarterback finds new home closer to home

What Gunnar Hoak saw on his touchdown pass — nothing

Kentucky backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak talks about relieving starter Terry Wilson and leading the Cats to a touchdown at the end of the first half in 35-20 win over Central Michigan. Hoak threw a 24-yard TD pass to David Bouvier.
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Kentucky backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak talks about relieving starter Terry Wilson and leading the Cats to a touchdown at the end of the first half in 35-20 win over Central Michigan. Hoak threw a 24-yard TD pass to David Bouvier.

The University of Kentucky football team is in need of a new plan at the backup quarterback position after suffering a weekend defection.

Gunnar Hoak on Saturday announced that he is transferring to Ohio State, leaving the Wildcats without a clear-cut No. 2 signal caller. UK announced on Tuesday that Hoak had entered the NCAA transfer portal — a mechanism for athletes who are considering switching programs to judge the interest level of other schools — and on Saturday he posted a statement on Twitter confirming his decision to join his home-state Buckeyes.

“I would like to formally announce that I am excited to accept an offer to continue my football and academic careers at THE Ohio State University,” Hoak wrote. “… And while I have gained so much experience during my time in Lexington, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to continue a family legacy.”

Hoak graduated from Dublin Coffman High School, which is less than 15 miles from Ohio State’s campus. His father, uncle and cousin all played for the Buckeyes. A three-star recruit, Hoak did not receive a scholarship offer from Ohio State out of high school. He spent three seasons at Kentucky, backing up Stephen Johnson before competing with Terry Wilson for the starting job last spring.

Hoak went on to thank UK quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, assistant head coach Eddie Gran and head coach Mark Stoops “for the chance to be a part of the Big Blue Nation and earn a degree from an institution as respected as the University of Kentucky. …

“I’ll never forget the rush of coming out of tunnel each week and being part of taking the program to new heights. I wish Kentucky nothing but the best!”

Hoak, who will graduate in May, will have two years of eligibility remaining and will be allowed to play immediately as a graduate transfer. He played in five total games at UK, all last season, completing 13 of 26 pass attempts for 167 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It’s likely he’ll will remain in a backup role for the Buckeyes, as former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields appears to be the favorite to start.

Hoak’s departure leaves Terry Wilson as UK’s only scholarship quarterback who has taken a snap in a college game. Redshirt sophomore Walker Wood has yet to see the field. Redshirt freshman Danny Clark, who played in two games last year, transferred in November.

The Wildcats might get some clarity on the situation this fall when scholarship freshmen Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo join the team. Sophomore Kolbe Langhi, a walk-on from Christian County, is also on the roster.

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