Set to graduate in May, quarterback Gunnar Hoak has a decision to make when it comes to his final years of eligibility. He could stay and compete for the starting job with Terry Wilson, or he could transfer and be eligible to play elsewhere immediately.
When asked about Hoak last week, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops was brutally honest when it came to the quarterback’s future with the program.
While he’d love him to stay, he understands the reality of the situation that it might now work out that way in the end.
“I’m not sure (what he’s going to do),” Stoops said. “I going to sit down with Gunnar next week and we will talk about his plans and what he has planned. I don’t know. … Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him whatever he decides to do.”
Following his combined 262-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Spring Game on Friday night, Hoak said that his focus right now is to finish out the semester strong academically.
From there, he’ll sit down with his family and make the best decision for his future.
“My main goal right now is to focus on these last two weeks of finals, of course,” he said. “I came here to graduate. That’s the biggest goal in life, to get through college and get a degree, so right now I have to focus on finals, these final papers. We’ll see what happens from there.”
Kentucky co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said after the game that every conversation he has had with Hoak has been about returning to UK and letting the process ride out.
“The only times I’ve talked to Gunnar, I’ve laid the path of him being here at Kentucky,” he said. “Getting a Master’s degree, which he will be able to get 30 hours done in three semesters, no problem. He can stay here, get his Master’s degree, and go compete to be the starting quarterback. And you can see he’s doing it.”
While Hinshaw understands that Hoak does have a tough decision to make and he will support him in whatever he decides to do, he thinks it’s in his best interest to return to Kentucky.
“Terry and him have an unbelievable relationship,” he said. “Sometimes the grass looks greener somewhere else, but the bottom line is that he’s put in his time, gotten better, and he can win for us. I’m very excited about him and staying here and being a part of our program. We want him to be here at Kentucky.”
In Hinshaw’s eyes, competition helps the entire roster get better, and he’s hoping that will continue with Hoak still with the program throughout the summer and into the 2019 season.
“I’m proud of all the quarterbacks, especially Gunnar,” he said. “He really came out and competed every scrimmage. He’s really gotten better, and he’s pushing Terry. What makes us better is when we have competition, so we need to continue to do that and continue to push ourselves throughout the summer.”