Hoak, Jackson Making Transition From High School to College

Recently, UKathletics.com published an article that focused on Kentucky freshman linebacker and early enrollee Kash Daniel. But Daniel is not the only Wildcat to give up his spring semester of high school to get started on a college football career.

Among the others who have enrolled early at UK this spring are quarterback Gunnar Hoak and center Drake Jackson. These players are in the midst of spring practice now and are ready to help the Wildcats on the field as soon as this season.

“I’m really just trying to get the team to a bowl game right now,” Jackson said. “I’m not really worried about playing time right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m just trying to be the best I can be and I hope our team can be the best it can be.”

Getting Kentucky back to a bowl game is high on everyone’s priority list. The most exciting thing for the incoming freshmen is trying to find their role at the collegiate level. 

“I want to compete for some playing time in the fall, that’s one of my biggest goals, and of course get better,” said Hoak. “Come out and win and make an SEC championship and get into a bowl game. I’m super excited to play in the SEC that’s why I choose to come here, to play against some of the bigger schools.”

For Jackson, playing at the collegiate level is a dream come true. 

“Being able to work out with guys who are moving a lot of weight, being in the film room with guys who know what they are doing,” Jackson said of his teammates. “It’s fun because I’m football’s biggest fan and this is at its highest level. This is everything I could have hope for it’s really a dream come true.”

For Jackson and Daniel, who are native Kentuckians, the shock of coming to college early was probably lessened by their familiarity with the school and the area. But for Hoak, who is from Ohio, the impact is likely a little higher. 

“Leaving with a semester left in your senior year and not have that was tough,” Hoak said. “But now since I have been here for a while I’m starting to get used to it.”

The transition to college from high school can be tough, but spring practice has helped the freshmen who arrived on campus early are back in their element – on the football field.