Morning Conversational: What Ohio State Likes About Quarterback Gunnar Hoak
It wasn’t that long ago that Ohio State’s quarterback room consisted of Justin Fields, Chris Chugunov, and walk-on Danny Vanatsky.
For a program that wants four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster at all times, they were two short.
There even came a time this spring when Buckeye head coach Ryan Day admitted that, because of the transfer portal and the nature of the position, maybe having four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster was a thing of the past.
Following spring ball at Kentucky, Wildcats quarterback Gunnar Hoak entered the portal. A few days after that, he ended up at Ohio State.
A Central Ohio native with Buckeye ties, Day welcomed him in with open arms.
“Yeah, first off that he’s from here and he understands what Ohio State is, he’s got bloodlines here, that matters to us,” Day said. “But also just watching the film and talking to his high school coach, you know, the accuracy there, somebody who’s played in games, he has some experience, he’s an older guy, he’s very intelligent and we think he could pick up the offense pretty quickly. He’s already done a good job, so you know we mix all those things together, I mean that’s a guy we want of the team.”
Hoak played in five games last season as a redshirt sophomore for the Wildcats, completing 13-of-26 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
By transferring to Ohio State, however, he brought with him more than just experience.
“Every quarterback that we bring into our program will be evaluated thoroughly. He’s a guy who fits our system,” quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich said. “He’s a very cerebral guy. I think he has been coached really well. Being in college football for a number of years he is a little bit more ahead of the curve than, say, a true freshman. He’s a very intelligent guy.”
Coming in late as Hoak did, however, there are still questions to be answered.
“Not being able to work with him on the field throwing the ball it’s really hard for me to elaborate on an individual who hasn’t had one practice yet,” Yurcich said. “That’s the situation in a lot of rooms.”
In terms of what Hoak’s role will be, that answer will be entirely up to him.
“He’s going to come in and he’s going to get reps with the ones and he’s going to compete for the starting job,” Day said. “Justin got here in February, and he did not win the job, but that wasn’t part of the spring. The spring was just to try to get some 15 practices under our belt, and learn the offense, but now in the preseason is where the real competition goes. So he’s going to have a great opportunity.”