It was the Game of the Century.
Thirteen years ago, it was one versus two. The only time in history that Ohio State and Michigan met as the top two teams in the nation.
You’ll never forget it.
Neither will Gunnar Hoak.
Because he was there.
Gunnar’s father Frank played at Ohio State under Woody Hayes. His uncle is former OSU tight end and defensive assistant Fred Pagac, and his cousin is former Buckeye middle linebacker Fred Pagac, Jr.
And even though Gunnar Hoak’s helmet has a black stripe down the middle of it, he is already a Buckeye.
“Just the family tradition there and how my dad played here,” he said of his decision to transfer to Ohio State. “I’ve had a cousin play here, an uncle coach here. Just being a part of that legacy and tradition there is at Ohio State, it’s awesome and can further my future. I can get a masters program from Ohio State, it’s awesome.”
Hoak grew up in nearby Dublin, Ohio and plans to work on a master’s degree in coaching. While the tradition was always a pull for him, getting the opportunity to play and learn under Ryan Day was also an opportunity that Hoak is thrilled to be a part of.
“Ever since I started talking to Ohio State, I loved coach Day,” he said. “He’s a great guy and I saw what he did last year with Dwayne [Haskins] and stuff like that. That’s something to be a part of. It’s going to be great.”
Hoak literally put himself out there this spring, stepping into the transfer portal hoping his dream school would come calling. One day later, they did.
“I was a little nervous at first because what if you enter the portal and the school you want to go to isn’t there and you can’t find a good situation,” he said. “I’m sure that’s happened to a few guys out there. When you had something going at Kentucky, you can get your masters there and stuff like that. It’s a little nerve-wracking at first, but obviously Ohio State stepped in and I’m glad to be here.”
Hoak wasn’t sure if Ohio State would come calling, and he didn’t transfer with the Buckeyes being his only goal.
He was simply looking for a new opportunity to continue his playing career and his education. The fact that he now gets to do that at Ohio State has convinced him he made the correct decision.
“Coming home, that’s one of the bigger parts of it,” he said. “Like I’ve been saying, the tradition here at Ohio State, that’s always been a dream of mine, ever since I was a little kid. I came to a ton of games here. So that was a huge part of it, coming here and being a part of this team.
“I’ve got a family legacy. I wanted to come home and just be a part of the tradition here. It’s awesome. A great path to take and I just wanted to be a part of it.”