Mark Stoops comments on Gunnar Hoak entering transfer portal, leaves door open for QB to return
If Gunnar Hoak does decide to leave Kentucky’s football program, the Wildcats depth chart at quarterback is set to be razor thin next season. That’s never ideal and when you consider how often starting quarterback Terry Wilson takes off and runs, Mark Stoops and his coaching staff may be holding their breath every time he decides to do just that in the fall.
If you missed the news from earlier, Hoak has announced he has entered the NCAA transfer portal. However, the way he worded his statement to announce the news, it appears he is open to returning to the team for the 2019 season.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal,” Hoak tweeted out on Tuesday. “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.”
Stoops met with the media on Tuesday leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft to discuss Kentucky’s draft prospects and was asked about Hoak’s announcement and what that does to the team’s depth under center. Keep in mind, the program has already lost QB Danny Clark this offseason to transfer.
“Obviously, we’re a bit thin — with Danny moving on. We’re not uncommon to that. Unfortunately, it’s part of this situation now with college football and college athletics and we have to deal with it,” Stoops said. “Gunnar and I had a great talk yesterday, he is a great kid.
“As I told him, he really had a good spring. I told y’all that after one of the scrimmages, he really played well, as good as I’ve seen him play. You understand that (decision) because he is a competitor and he wants to play.”
While Stoops understands and maybe even appreciates Hoak’s decision on some level, he did note that the redshirt junior could return to the team and that the Wildcats would welcome him back with open arms.
“It’s not a done deal that he’s going to go somewhere else. He’s going to look at it and check his options and I told him that we would have another discussion about it at a later time. We will see where that goes,” Stoops said. “I just want to be supportive of him and his decision but it does put us in a situation where we are a little bit thin.”
Kentucky’s coach is playing this the best way possible, as he remains committed to whatever Hoak feels is the best option for himself while at the same time not alienating the quarterback for making a decision that could result in the Wildcats entering a season without any meaningful experience behind Wilson.
Who knows, if no program offers Hoak an opportunity to start immediately, there’s a chance he returns and sees the field for Kentucky next season in an offense he’ll know better than one he has to learn on the fly.