Gunnar Hoak was dual sports player at Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio, playing baseball in addition to football. He led his high school as a quarterback, to the Division I Ohio state playoffs. Hoak has graded a 3-star prospect and saw scholarship offers from Toledo, Bowling Green, and Buffalo. After such accolades as being named Offensive Player of the Year for Ohio's Central District in 2014 and throwing for 4,000 plus yards with 44 touchdowns and just nine interceptions his junior and senior season, he was ranked as the number 40 overall pro-style quarterback in the nation for the class of 2016. Hoak eventually chose the University of Kentucky, the only Power 5 school to offer him a scholarship, though other programs like Toledo, Buffalo, and Bowling Green did make offers.
Hoak at Kentucky
At Kentucky Hoak was red-shirted his freshman year in 2016. Stephen Johnson was the QB for 2017 with Hoak third on the depth chart. Drew Barker was the backup, but in 2018 Barker gave up his final year of eligibility and Johnson graduated. This left Hoak in a battle with Terry Wilson for the QB job at Kentucky. Wilson was named the starter and Hoak saw little action during his redshirt sophomore season – throwing just 26 passes for Kentucky.
This lack of playing time led Hoak to enter the NCAA's transfer portal in mid-April. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was hoping Hoak would remain at Kentucky, but Hoak announced the weekend after Easter that he was transferring to Ohio State.
Urban Meyer leaving the Ohio State played a role in Hoak's decision to choose Ohio State. Under Meyer, the Buckeyes had primarily recruited dual-threat quarterbacks. But new head coach Ryan Day is bringing a pro-style passing attack to Columbus.
Given Hoak's pro-style and the Buckeye's new change in offensive philosophy both parties are receiving a benefit. Ohio State saw quarterback Matthew Baldwin leave the program and this created an immediate need for a quarterback. Hoak met with Ohio State coaching staff just three days after entering the transfer portal.
Maybe a Backup To Justin Fields
While the consensus seems to be that Hoak will be a backup to Justin Fields, things can and do change. Hoak has not been in a position to see his talent flourish. He may find that in Columbus. He has as much experience as any QB on the Buckeyes roster. It is also clear he has the physical tools to be a good QB in the Big 10.
Given that Hoak will graduate from the University of Kentucky this month he will be eligible to play for the Buckeyes immediately. Regardless if he earns the starting spot or not he will most likely provide healthy competition to Fields and end up being second on the depth chart.
Gunnar Hoak 2017 Spring Game