Big Catch in Stephen Hoge

Kansas landed a top kicker when Stephen Hoge gave his verbal pledge to the Jayhawks. He knew his future on the next level and stepped outside the box for his senior year. A tremendous student in the classroom makes for an added bonus.

Coach Bob Wilson gave an in-depth interview of his star pupil, Stephen Hoge, from Putnam North High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

"He's a very coachable young man, a great student, great team leader" coach Wilson said. "He's got all the intangibles. He's a 4.0-plus student. All the things a coach dreams of. If all my problems are Stephen Hoge, I wouldn't have any."

"We think he is about as good as there is around. As a kicker, he has kicked off the ground and not off a tee his whole senior year. I think he was 14 of 17 or something like that on the year, and kicks about 80-85-percent of his kick-offs into the end zone. In Oklahoma you can't run them back, so that's a big tool to make people start from their 20. We think he is as solid as there is around."

"I think 43 is his longest, and that's only because that's the longest he got to attempt. I don't think we had anything over that, but he's good. He's pretty solid from 50 (yard line) in."

"He's also a punter, averaged about 39 yards a punt. There aren't very many kickers that do both at that level, but he's definitely got the capabilities of doing both. Big kid 6-4, 215. He's a big strong kid, going to get even stronger."

Wilson talked of the decision to allow Hoge to kick without a tee his senior year.

"I think his decision as he went to camps and stuff, and knew his future where he wanted to be was on the next level. As a high school coach I wasn't real excited about it, but I said hey we'll go for it and if you can do it's fine with me."

"Of course in the state of Oklahoma or at least where we play in Oklahoma City out of the 10 regular season games there are probably seven or eight we play on artificial surface. It's not as big a deal to kick-off the ground off an artificial suface as it is to kick off the grass. We did have two or three games that he kicked off the grass and did fine."

"He practiced a lot off the grass, and every camp he went to he did. It's a big deal with coaches because that's what he's going to be expected to do. A lot of the guys they bring in as freshman are guys that always use tees, and there is a big difference. He's been really solid."

Coach Bob Wilson was very understanding of his kicker and the need to focus on the future.

"I told him I'm just kind of like the guy from Missouri. 'Show me' you can do it, and I don't have any problem. I understand where you are trying to get, and I want to help you try and do that. We've also got to have the opportunity to be successful here too," Wilson said.

Coach shared his thoughts of Hoge's decision to go to Kansas.

"I think he really liked the staff up there," he said. "Coach Young did a great job recruiting him. They are real low-key, they are very upfront and honest with him. and I think closeness to home. His folks will be able to see him play, and it's not that far, maybe four, four-and-a-half hours from here. Of course it's a great campus up there."

"I think he sees they have progressively gotten better each year. Coach Mangino seems to have them going in the right direction. To be a part of building something like that, I think is always exciting to a player." Top Stories