Evaluating Gunnar Hoak Kentucky's 2016 Quarterback Commit

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Shannon Dawson offered and received a commitment from quarterback Gunnar Hoak this week. Being able to project what a player will be able to do in the future based on a past and present snapshot is nothing more than a guess. There are several criteria commonly used to predict future performance of a quarterback. I am omitting any statistics such as yards per game and completion percentages. Also I am omitting the subjective characteristics of "leadership, winner and football IQ". A coach who fishes in the subjective or statistic pond exclusively will find himself inadequate at the quarterback position more often than not.

After evaluating Gunnar Hoak on the criteria of size, arm strength, accuracy, touch, set up, delivery, release and running ability Kentucky appears to have a quarterback it will be able to safely project as a starting SEC quarterback in the future. The common measurable for a BCS Quarterback are:

Physical Measurables:

  • Height: 6’2"-6'4"
  • Weight: 190lb.- 220 lbs.

Speed and Strength Stats:

  • 40yd: 4.5-4.8
  • Bench: 260 lbs.
  • Squat: 425 lbs.

Size and strength certainly can be overrated, and there are more important factors, but when choosing your quarterback staying as close to these guidelines is preferable. Hoak is within the size guidelines being listed at 6’3", 190lbs. There are not any published strength or speed measurables, but judging by photos I would guess he is near the 50 percentile for overall strength. Video clips illustrate a player squarely in the 4.5-4.8 range for speed.

Arm Strength

Many players can heave the ball sixty yards down field. What makes a good to great college quarterback is the ability to throw the deep out pattern. Presumably the player should be proficient at throwing from near the boundary hash to the field sideline. Hoak has shown he is able to make these throws. He has room to become even stronger. At this time his weight is not getting fully transferred to the front side. Once this occurs, he will have more velocity as he transfers the power into his front knee and up and over into the firing triceps.

Accuracy, set up and delivery

This is more than looking to see if the pass is completed. Are the receivers having to stop and wait for the ball, are they jumping and diving for passes? Does the running back have to turn his back to catch a swing pass? When I think of accuracy, I think Tim Couch and Teddy Bridegewater. Rarely did a receiver need to break stride or move his hands to catch a pass. I did not look up Hoak's passing percentage but based on the throws I have reviewed, and his technique in making them, I would assume he throws for a high percentage.


The final aspect I want to evaluate is the touch of the quarterback. More times than not the quarterback will simply need to 'flip' the ball to his receiver. Can he do this while being chased and not in an ideal throwing position? These are the extend the timeline plays that are required against above average defenses. Hoak has a demonstrated ability to make the touch throws from an awkward position.

I do not know how the rating services rate quarterbacks, and I do not know how much separation there is between the top ranked quarterback and the thirtieth ranked quarterback. Regardless, Gunnar Hoak clearly has the ability to be a starting SEC quarterback.