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Will Gunnar Hoak be “hated” for his transfer to Ohio State? UK fans don’t think so

Gunnar Hoak


Rather than go into next season slated to be junior Terry Wilson’s backup, junior quarterback Gunnar Hoak decided to transfer from Kentucky and Saturday announced he was going to be joining Ohio State.

For the Ohio native, it was an easy decision since his father played there, an uncle coached there and a cousin played there and won a national title. It’s also close to home.

Certainly most expect Georgia transfer Justin Fields to be the Ohio State starter next season, but it is still an easy decision to see why Hoak opted to make this move.

That prompted Rich Elam to post this on Twitter about my article on Hoak’s transfer: “I hope Gunnar has great success at Ohio State. You will always be part of the #BBNFAM. You will be missed.”

Seemed fair and logical to me and the sentiment I thought Kentucky fans would have. However, Ben Wimsatt (@Wildcard27) disagreed on Twitter.

“I disagree with your analysis. If we have a successful season then possible. If Terry is hurt early and our season tanks, Gunner will be much hated for his decision,” Wimsatt posted.

Got to admit that stunned me. First, I don’t think anyone should “hate” any athlete at any level. I just don’t get that. But even if the UK “season tanks,” I am still not sure how that would be Hoak’s fault. Apparently most UK fans agree with me based on the reaction to Wimsatt’s tweet.

Later after a number of Twitter responses, Wimsatt added this: “I am not hating on anyone, I just made the comment of what might happen. I don’t hate anyone for leaving. I think any athlete should be able to transfer anytime without penalty. Coaches do, so why not athletes? I made my comments based off 50 years of following the Cats. Bad times bring out bad reactions. Not always fair.”

That’s true, but I don’t think it will happen with Hoak and apparently most UK fans do not either based on responses like these I got on Twitter:

@corkeypeek17: “Any logical person in our fanbase won’t have Gunnar Hoak or any other player for leaving if it’s in their best interest. Like all fanbases, we do have lunatics, unfortunately, in the BBN, and they will hate just to hate. They should be ignored when possible. Hoak got his degree here and has ties to Ohio St. It makes sense.”

@StaceyG1727: “Who in their right mind would hate on a college kid that wants to go play at home? Some of you people need a heart Check…His life His decision period! You make YOUR life choices & he will make his..”

@dmmcghee: “Also let’s not forget there’s something to ‘going home.’ I wish @GunnarHoak12 lots of luck.”

@bbn4_UK: “He gave it his best shot. Now he’s going ‘home.’ Can’t blame him! Stoops should be the one with a backup plan. It’s not on the kid.”

@keriscaggs: “How about we not hate anyone? Just a thought 🙂 Keeping a record of (supposed) slights/being a scorekeeper is exhausting. (Not to mention being that invested when someone makes a decision AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THEM.)”

@djstapletpn34: “I don’t always understand why athletes make some decisions but it’s their decisions to make and I always hope it works out for them . This is one I don’t understand fully but certainly wish him well.”

@PScottJohnson: “Funny how we don’t think this way about kids who transfer to the team we support. I wish the best for them. If he and his family feel this is the best situation for them, good for them! I’d say it’s a pretty cool thing for a kid from Ohio even if he doesn’t play there.”

@ajcarr70: “How anyone can Hate on an Athlete for making decisions that they feel is in THEIR best interest.. just blows my mind! Remember that saying, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness! Pursue on young man.”


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  1. I simply made a statement that things could turn ugly if Terry gets hurt and our season tanks. Some might turn on Gunnar, like so many did on my statement! I never said I hated on Gunnar or wanted others too. I just have 50 years experience of see fans with a different opinion viciously attacked for simply stating their opinion. Agree or disagree is fine, but those type of attacks are wrong and the reason I made my statement. You can wear your rose color glasses, but a small majority of BBN fans only live to attack those that do not agree with them. Only time will tell what might happen in this case. I hope Terry stays healthy and Gunnar leads Ohio State to a National Championship. Maybe then all will be well in BBN, or maybe some will attack Stoops and the coaching staff for letting Gunnar go. I am not saying I want that to happen, but go ahead and let the hate be poured out on me! The very reason I made my statement to begin with. The BBN is not as pure as you imagine. Every fan base has their haters.

    1. I agree with you Ben27. I even basically said the same thing in an earlier post here on VV’s. Hoak had been given the same opportunity to win the starting job at UK as Wilson got. He actually had a leg up on Wilson having been in the UK system longer than TW. He was the backup behind TW, and would have been a valuable asset for this UK football team should Wilson go down in 2019. There is a void there now. This Kentucky coaching staff had put a lot of time in on developing Hoak. Now they have to get a backup ready for 2019 fast They will wind up with a back up with no experience now.. Hey, it’s a free country and Hoak can do what he wants, but I’m a UK football fan first and foremost and would have liked to see him stay at UK. I’ll be looking to see if Hoak makes the field of play at OS. More than likely he will be a backup QB there too. Do some of us who have this view hate the kid, of course not, but we don’t have to like his leaving a whole lot either. Maybe he should have gone to OS in the first place, it seems that is where is heart was and is.

  2. Thanks, Larry Pup! You would not believe the hate i received from some of the followers of BBN. I was told to quit following UK, I was not wanted or deserving to be a BBN fan, how dare I put hatred on Gunnar. I never said I hated Gunner or wished him ill, I only said it was possible for others in BBN to turn on Gunner if Terry got hurt and our season tanked. Even Larry (a seasoned sport caster got it wrong)! I value free speech, but not in the BBN. If your opinion differs from the majority, you are attacked with viscous hatred and told to leave. This is the very reason for my opinion that some in BBN might turn on Gunnar in the right circumstances. I will make sure I only reply with Larry when I agree with him, so he does not sick the BBN on me again. Some people need to live in their own fantasy world.

    1. Ben I merely said I didn’t see how anyone could “hate” a player for leaving. Again, it was you, not me that used the word hate in the tweet and it was not clear to me that you meant others and not yourself might hate him. I simply do not see that happening. Kentucky will be just fine at QB and Gunnar will be just fine at Ohio State. I don’t see any UK fans “hating” when a player transfers to Kentucky or “hating” that a player doesn’t get to play at UK because other players are simply better. College athletics are a business and hires, fires are just part of it. And I didn’t sic anyone on you. Fans responded on their own to our simple difference of opinion. I value your comments but would never expect you to always agree with me just like I am sure I will never always agree with you — or anyone else.

  3. Hoak did not get the same opportunity as Johnson or Wilson for the QB position at UK because UK was looking for a run oriented qb and not a passing qb. As I said on here earlier, Hoak was not and is not a good fit for UK because they have not wanted a passing qb. They want a game manager that will take very few chances. Hand the ball off, run it when needed, and hope they hit 50% of their short passes; pound the ball.
    Hoak is not that kind of qb and if Wilson gets hurt, Gran and Stoops made their bed.
    Even when Johnson and Wilson were hurt over the last two years, Hoak got very little opportunity; and when he did many times they were either backed up deep or Gran called running plays.
    Hoak has listened for two years to Gran “rave” about how good he was doing. We can win in the SEC with Hoak. I am going to get him some experience. He needs to be put in the game and given a chance to learn, etc, etc, etc. And all to no avail.
    Anyone that could blame Hoak if Wilson goes down hasn’t been watching what is happening on the field.
    If Hoak was my son, he would have been gone last year.

    1. Don’t agree with you OF. I was in Hoak’s camp for a long time, but he could never seem to rise to the top against Johnson, or surpass Wilson after Wilson’s arrival. Hoak had the same opportunity as Wilson did. He even had a year under his belt in UK’s system in backing up Johnson. Also, you have to establish the run game in the league UK plays in. Hoak could have handed the ball off or have thrown it just like Wilson was called on to do had he been the named starter. If he had been the better QB for UK it would have been proven on the practice field where most fans don’t see much of the competition. Also, why throw the football all over the field with a back like Snell in the stable. It is not about Hoak, it’s about team.

      If Hoak was to b e projected starter at OS I could understand a transfer maybe, but he is projected now as their back up to the UGA transfer isn’t he? So what has he gained? Also, for the record, I have seen every football game UK has played since Hoak arrived on campus. He had chances to play, and did at times with a measure of success. That said, It’s what happens during the week that counts, you know that. I also believe you will see Gran open the offense up and throw the football more in 2019 if the spring game is any indication. Wilson has the stronger arm, and better legs too. Wilson had a better spring game IMO. If Wilson goes down in 2019 with a season ending injury, UK is in big trouble at QB IMO with Hoak’s departure. All the QB’s on the UK roster behind Wilson have no game experience, and the others are inbound freshmen. You can’t blame Stoops and staff for this, they had put a lot of time in in developing Hoak, and wanted Hoak to stay as far as I know. I wish the guy success at OS, but he has it to do in front of a bunch of new coaches, and a new system. Good luck is all I can say.

  4. I understand what you are saying, LP, but that is why I said Hoak was not a good fit for UK and the run game they wanted to play. He doesn’t have the legs.
    Now, maybe he would be a better fit for the “new” system if they stick with it, but I wouldn’t take the chance.
    If one or two of these backs turn out to be really good, UK will start relying more and more on the run game and Hoak would be right back in the same situation.
    Leaving last year would have made a lot more sense for his situation, but by staying this year and graduating, he doesn’t have to sit out a year.
    I don’t know what the OS coaches told him, but if you are going to sit on the bench, just as well do it closer to home.

    1. I see your point OF, I do, but his leaving UK hurt his team IMO. What is he trying to prove? Not everybody can play NFL football if that is his goal. Hoak is not an NFL prospect right now, and probably won’t be at Ohio State either. My point is, Hoak was given the same chance the others got in the system he was in, but he couldn’t win the starting job. He leaves UK without a capable backup behind Wilson now. If there is one, who is it? Will UK survive, yes, but this hurts the program and time spent in getting him ready in case Wilson does go down. His chance to prove himself these next two years was at UK. But, hey it’s his choice, but some of us just wanted him to stay that’s all. There will be another chapter to this story in due time.

  5. Man, there is never a dull moment with the QB position. I’m not as knowledgeable about football as some of the fine posters on this board, but this transfer situation only makes me more hyper excited and curious as to how the “next man up” concept plays out. Every time the pocket breaks down, or Terry pulls the ball down to scramble, I know I’m going to be sounding like Arnold Schwarzengger, screaming at the TV to, “get down, get down”, or “get out of bounds, man”, and lastly, “throw it out of bounds Terry”…you just know they will be targeting his butt. So, who’s going to be the MAN, that asserts himself, in the unfortunate situation, should it happen, that Terry goes down???

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