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Scarlet Sunrise: Solution to Ohio State’s QB problem may have just emerged

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Gunnar Hoak would give Ohio State a viable backup option. (Danny Medley/USA Today Sports)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Solution to Ohio State’s QB problem may have just emerged

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise! Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.


Gunnar Hoak could fix Ohio State’s QB depth

Ohio State is one injury away from Chris Chugonov being the starting quarterback. The Buckeyes are looking at serious depth problems at the most valuable position on the field, which is why it would make sense for them to add a transfer. Enter Gunnar Hoak, the former Dublin (Ohio) Coffman quarterback who announced he is exploring the possibility of leaving Kentucky to spend his final two years elsewhere.

Of all the potential quarterbacks the Buckeyes are likely to consider, few make more sense than Hoak. Aside from growing up just 15 minutes away from campus in Columbus, Hoak’s father, Frank, played for Ohio State under Earle Bruce and was Chris Spielman’s roommate. His uncle, Fred Pagac Sr., coached for the Buckeyes. And his cousin, Fred Pagac Jr., suited up for John Cooper.

On the field, Hoak fits the Ohio State offensive system and is a natural passer with an NFL frame at 6-foot-4, 200-pounds. A former 3-star prospect in the Class of 2015, Hoak graduates from Kentucky next week and would have two years left to learn and play at his next school, making him an ideal match for the Buckeyes as they try to bridge the gap between Justin Fields and Jack Miller.

So there’s just one question: Will Hoak consider a school where he’s all but assured to be a backup? Barring injury, leaving Kentucky for Ohio State isn’t going to get him a bump in playing time. But he’s also not playing for Kentucky at the moment, and his Ohio State connections could lead him back to Central Ohio.

For more on Ohio State recruiting, check out the Tuesday edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes.

Who are the other options?

As mentioned above, Justin Fields and Chris Chugunov are the only two scholarship passers left on the roster, which is two fewer than coach Ryan Day would like. The third quarterback right now is walk-on Danny Vanatsky.

Things may change soon, though. This late in the process, transfer quarterbacks are few and far between, but the Buckeyes have options. Lettermen Row writer Spencer Holbrook listed out Ohio State’s options for adding a quarterback for this season. The list begins with a discussion of Hoak, but there are certainly other names in play for the Buckeyes, as well.

Larry Johnson denies allegation

The ongoing corruption trial involving college basketball took a detour into the football world today, with defensive line coach Larry Johnson among the names dragged into the fray. Marty Blazer testified about payments he made to college football players and claimed at one point that Johnson encouraged him to give $10,000 to Aaron Maybin.

“That is not accurate at all,” Johnson told Yahoo Sports. “That is absolutely false. I would never, ever ask anybody to do that. That is not me.”

Johnson said he was dumbfounded by the allegation, which even if true would have occurred over a decade ago and never had come up.

“Why is it that something like that comes out and nobody says anything to me?” Johnson Sr. said. “This is the first call I’ve gotten. All of a sudden this Marty Blazer guy can just say whatever he wants? That is absolutely amazing. Wow.”

Tracy Sprinkle on Ohio State’s DL

Larry Johnson has never been shy about deploying a rotation on the Ohio State defensive line. But it’s probably never been easier than what he’ll be able to do this season. Figuring out the best way to use all of those weapons can be a bit of a challenge, of course. But that’s a good problem to have for any coach, especially one who has such a solid mix of experienced veterans like Davon Hamilton, Robert Landers and Jashon Cornell to pair with rising stars in Haskell Garrett, Tommy Togiai and Taron Vincent.

How do all the pieces fit together? What is allowing the younger guys to emerge into key contributors? What’s it like to play in that Rushmen rotation for Larry Johnson? Former Ohio State defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle returned to the Lettermen Row film lab to dive into all of that and take a closer look at the talented trio on the rise in the latest episode of BuckIQ.

WATCH: Tracy Sprinkle breaks down Ohio State’s defensive line rotation

Counting down

  • NFL Draft: 1 day

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Ryan Ginn

Ryan Ginn has covered Ohio State football and recruiting since 2013, having done so previously for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and Landof10.com. He is currently a student at Tulane Law School and resides in New Orleans, La.