If Kentucky is going to remain competitive in the SEC East in 2019, there’s no doubt the passing game is the key aspect of the program that must step up its production next fall. While that likely will fall on the shoulders of Terry Wilson to accomplish next fall, one player Mark Stoops has been quick to praise during spring camp is last season’s backup quarterback Gunnar Hoak.

Could Hoak be the answer under center for the Wildcats if the team starts passing the ball as life without Benny Snell officially begins this fall? Not if Hoak leaves the program this summer.

Hoak potentially has the option to leave the program as a graduate transfer following spring football in Lexington and interestingly enough, during his latest media availability, Stoops admitted he doesn’t know if Hoak will stick around for the fall.

“I’m not sure. 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,” Stoops admitted. “We are working our tail off with him, like we always do, and he’s doing everything that we ask him to do — like always. But after the spring, we can always sit down and talk and see what’s best for him and his future.

“Of course I want Gunnar here but I’ll be very supportive of him whatever he decides to do.”

That’s a very refreshing bit of honesty that you don’t often see from coaches around the SEC and by putting this information out there, Stoops may have wisely got this information out into the public to sway Hoak to return to Lexington before a final decision is made. However, if Hoak has been given a clear message that he is the backup and won’t threaten to win the starting job come the fall, it makes sense for him to explore his options elsewhere exiting the spring.

During his Wildcat career, Hoak has completed 13 of 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He came to Lexington after being rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN.