Dominant Guard Picks Navy over Air Force

The Naval Academy got a big commitment this past weekend…literally. 6-foot-2 and 295-pounds, Solon High School's (OH) Nate Hoff not only chose Navy over scholarship offers from half the Mid American Conference, but spurned Air Force for a chance to help with establishing a "great future" on and off the field in Annapolis.

One look at Nate Hoff's highlight film and even the most critical of observers can't help but be impressed. As a defensive tackle he shows overwhelming upper body strength and determined leg drive, again and again showing up on tape as the player blowing up running plays in the backfield. His 24 tackles for a loss this past year helped him gather offers from nearly a dozen schools, but it wasn't until after his season concluded that Navy assistant coach Mike Judge offered the two-way star a scholarship. Judge recruited Hoff as an offensive guard, a position which will allow him to use his quickness and wrestling background to good use in Navy's triple option.

While a late comer to the Navy recruiting scene, Hoff was in attendance for the Army-Navy game in December, and has steadily been learning more about the Academy over the last month. GoMids caught up with Hoff recently, and found out why he chose Navy over Air Force, and why he's not deterred by Navy's 5-7 finish in 2011.

On his visit to Annapolis, and getting the "feeling" that Navy was the right place for him:

"The campus was beautiful and their coaching staff and the academics that they have there are insane, and also the football. Everything about it was just great and I thought it was pretty much perfect."

On what makes Navy stand out above the nine other FBS schools to offer him:

"As I look at it Navy plays one of the top football schedules in the country. The play great football obviously, and the academics they have are just out of this world. You can compare it to almost Harvard as being one of the top schools. That sets the standard and sets it apart from all the other (schools)."

On when he first became serious about attending Navy:

"They offered me in November or December. When I went to the Army-Navy game that's when I first started getting really serious about it, because that place was awesome. I didn't realize how big Navy games were and it just blew me away. I looked it up and got more information so I checked it out and loved it."

"The atmosphere was just crazy. Like with the Midshipmen just going at it with the West Point kids and stuff like that. I just thought it was really cool and just the way the athletes played was something I had never seen before and I just thought it was crazy."

On why he picked Navy over Air Force:

"Well I really have no interest in flying at all (laughs), so that's kind of why I chose Navy."

On potential service selections he is interested in at USNA:

"The Marines, actually. I'd love to do the Marines. I talked to these two guys – I think they were graduate assistants – who took the Marine route. I talked to them and they said they loved it and stuff like that."

On the possibility of playing in the Big East conference at Navy

"It's pretty cool. (The coaches) talked about it a little bit but I thought they said in 2013 they'd be moving to the Big East. It's pretty cool – it looks like they are moving on up in the football rankings, even though they already are a great team. Navy football is heading to a great future."

On whether or not he was deterred by Navy's losing season in 2011:

"Not at all. I look at the past history and they've been to eight bowl games with that coaching staff and there's always an off season. It's unfortunate but it happens, but I can tell with all the recruiting and stuff that they'll be back at it in no time at all."

On whether or not he will play offensive guard or defensive tackle at Navy:

"At this point they want me as an offensive guard. Most schools were looking at me for a defensive tackle because at their level they're looking for someone 6-foot-4 to play offensive guard, so I was mostly recruited at a nose tackle or defensive tackle."

On looking forward to playing in the triple option offense

"I'm really pumped for it. It's a really fun offense to run. You get to crack kids all the time so I'm really stoaked for it."

On playing in "high profile" Navy games:

"As a kid you always hear about the Navy-Notre Dame game. It's two great teams going at it so I think it'd be pretty cool to play in."

On coach Niumatalolo

"He is very cool, and seems like a very peaceful guy. My parents loved him, so I think he's one heck of a coach."

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