LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky would like to keep the redshirt on freshman QB Gunnar Hoak, but coach Mark Stoops said Hoak and his family have given their blessing to pull it if necessary.
Stephen Johnson has stabilized the Wildcats quarterback position with Drew Barker looking less and less likely to return, but if another injury were to occur, Hoak would take the reins of Kentucky’s offense. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound quarterback is second on the depth chart ahead of Cincinnati transfer Luke Wright.
“We have his blessing and the blessing of his family,” Stoops said of Hoak. “They know very clearly and they’re all for it. His father was a football player and understands it and is all for it. If we feel the need to play him, then he’s going to play.”
A late season shift to Hoak would cancel an extra year of eligibility for the Dublin, Ohio, native. Stoops said he wanted to talk to Hoak and his family just to make his plans clear if Johnson were to get hurt.
Hoak presents a pro-style option to Johnson’s dual-threat abilities.
“We’re very impressed,” Stoops said of Hoak. “He’s getting better and better with every snap. He’s very poised. But I think it’s fair to say that always at that position you have to get them in a game and see how they function out there. He shows everything that you want in a quarterback.”
Kentucky faces Mississippi State at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.