By LARRY VAUGHT
Gunnar Hoak came to Kentucky as a four-star quarterback out of Ohio confident he could help make the Cats a winning program.
Instead, in three years he’s spent one year as a redshirt and two years as a backup throwing only 26 passes for 13 completes, 167 yards and two scores. With Terry Wilson returning as the starting quarterback and having two years of eligibility left like Hoak, it’s no shock Hoak has put his name into the NCAA transfer portal.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll transfer but Hoak will complete his undergraduate degree next month and can transfer with two years of eligibility and play immediately at any school.
Hoak did not rush to make this decision. Both Hoak and his parents had spent considerable time agonizing over the decision. The quarterback likes being at Kentucky. He just wants an opportunity to play — something anyone should understand.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal,” Hoak posted on Twitter today. “With graduation coming up next week, I knew I had an important decision to make for my future including my football and academic careers. I would like to thank Coach Stoops and the UK staff for understanding that I need to see if there are any other options for me at this time in my career.”
Another quarterback, Danny Clark, transferred after the 2018 season ended. That leaves redshirt freshman Walker Wood as the only other quarterback on campus if Hoak leaves but Stoops signed two quarterbacks — Nik Scalzo of Florida and Amani Gilmore of Louisville — who will arrive in June.
“Unfortunately, it is part of the situation right now with college football and college athletics and we have to deal with it. Gunnar and I had a great talk yesterday and he is great kid,” Stoops said Tuesday. “As I told him, he really had a great spring and as I told y’all (in the media) after one of the scrimmages, he really played well and as good as I have seen him play.
“I think you understand that because he is a competitor and he wants to play. It is not a done deal that he goes somewhere else. I think he is going to look at it and check his options and I told him we would have another discussion about it at another time. We will see where that goes.
“I just want to be supportive of him and that decision. It does put us in a position where we are a little bit thin. So you have to count on some young guys and Walker has come back and is healthy now and playing the best he has since he has been here. Then you got two young guys coming in.”
One of those young guys, Scalzo, had knee surgery in November but recently told me he has been cleared to resume workouts and expects to be 100 percent when preseason drills start in August.
“If you know anything about Nik and he is going to say he is ready just like Walker, those guys will play with an ACL injury, that is how tough they are,” Stoops said. “We will make sure he is ready to go and he will not play until our trainers tell me he is, but I know he is working his tail off and it seems like he is going to be ready but we will see. Then you got Amani coming in as well. We will have to check and see where he is at.”