Looking ahead to the 2019 Kentucky football season, Mark Stoops has a precarious quarterback situation. Fortunately, Stoops’ staff will not be in the middle of a quarterback competition, however, they will be walking on thin ice to figure out who will replace Terry Wilson if the mobile quarterback is sidelined by a big hit.
Only three days after the season ended at Louisville, the first domino fell. Redshirt freshman Danny Clark announced he would transfer from Kentucky, leaving Darin Hinshaw’s quarterback room with three scholarship players — Wilson, Walker Wood and Gunnar Hoak. The latter’s status still remains unclear.
Many speculated that Hoak would be the first quarterback to announce a transfer. A redshirt sophomore in his third year at UK, Hoak battled toe to toe with the JUCO transfer throughout the preseason. Hoak lost the competition, but played in the season opener. After Wilson was sidelined with an injury against Central Michigan, Hoak sparked the offense with a touchdown pass to David Bouvier in the final minute of the first half. When two second half series by Hoak failed to produce points, Wilson re-entered the game and did not relinquish that role the rest of the season.
Wilson’s first year as Kentucky’s starter wasn’t perfect. After the Vanderbilt game, critics called for Hoak to lead Kentucky’s offense. Even Gunnar’s father aired his grievances on social media ahead of the Missouri game. No. 12 was eventually called into the game for a few series, but only completed 3-of-8 passes for 27 yards before Wilson returned to lead Kentucky on an improbable game-winning drive that cemented his spot as UK’s starter.
Terry Wilson is not going anywhere anytime soon. Like Hoak, Wilson has two years of eligibility remaining. Many assume Hoak will transfer to search for playing time elsewhere. Today we learned Hoak will graduate in May, which means he could transfer and be eligible to play this fall.
— Holly Hoak (@holly_hoak) January 8, 2019
Will Gunnar become Kentucky’s second quarterback transfer of the offseason? Sources tell KSR it’s likely, however, nothing will be official until well after spring practice in May.
In the event Hoak does become a grad transfer, Walker Wood would be the only scholarship quarterback behind Wilson with any experience in the offense. Kentucky has recruited to fill the void with Amani Gilmore and Nik Scalzo, although neither will be on campus until June and Scalzo will be rehabilitating a torn ACL. The transfer market may also be explored, but just like in Hoak’s case, you don’t know until you officially know.
Terry Wilson’s style of play requires an offense to always be prepared to operate with a second quarterback. Hoak filled that role admirably in 2018. If Hoak does not want that role in 2019, finding the right person for the job will not be easy.