ANTHONY HOKE-ROCKET TO BEARCAT

When Anthony Hoke was being recruited out of Warren Harding High School a year ago, the process seemed pretty complicated. He really like Pat Narduzzi, who was then the defensive coordinator at Miami of Ohio, but no scholarship offer was on the table.

Even worse, Miami was quickly running out of scholarships. The Toledo Rockets saw an opportunity and quickly offered Anthony, hoping to steal a good football player from their MAC rivals. Anthony recalled the events. "I got put in a bind at Toledo. If I had gone on a visit to Miami, they probably weren't going to have any more scholarships to offer. So, I committed to Toledo."

Obviously the story doesn't end there. A couple weeks after the "soft" commitment to Toledo, Coach Dantonio was hired at Cincinnati and convinced Pat Narduzzi to become his defensive coordinator. Since the Bearcat staff was entering the recruiting wars very late, they were looking for any advantages they could get. Narduzzi remembered Hoke and started the recruiting process again. Anthony was glad he did. "When Coach Narduzzi made the switch, they wanted to see how I liked it here. I liked it a lot, and now I'm a Bearcat."

Cincinnati turned out to be a very good fit. Good enough for Anthony to get on the field as a true freshman at defensive end. Anthony appeared in nine games. He had 12 tackles which included 1 ½ tackles for loss and 1 ½ sacks. He was also named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team. Nevertheless, Anthony recognized the difficulty in achieving this feat. "Going from high school to college was real tough because the game is so much faster. It was a whole new ball game."

This week the learning curve got even steeper when Anthony was moved from defensive end to linebacker, but he's not sure the move will be permanent. "I think the reason for the switch was Lemonte Nelms' getting hurt. I guess they wanted someone to fill the hole."

Anthony's not totally opposed to the position change if it‘s permanent, but he prefers playing defensive end. "I'm more comfortable at defensive end because I've never played linebacker before, but I originally came here to play linebacker, and I'll do whatever is best for the team."

If Hoke returns to defensive end, he knows it's a big responsibility because of who played there last season. "There's some pressure playing defensive end because of (Andre) Frazier and (Trent) Cole. Both of them are in the record books, and that's where I'm trying to get." To make matters even tougher, he knows he's small for the D-line (6' and 243 pounds). "I think my strength is right up there with the O-line, but I'm definitely undersized."

Despite his modest size for the defensive line, his dreams are anything but modest when talking about the Big East Conference. "I'm looking forward to playing in the Big East. It's the road to the national championship."

The road from high school to college was confusing at times, but Anthony Hoke sure seems to know where he's going now. I can't wait to follow.


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