Bruins Offer Elite 2015 OL

UCLA offers the West top 2015 offensive lineman, Pocatello (Idaho) Highland center Tristen Hoge...

Pocatello (Idaho) Highland 2015 offensive lineman Tristen Hoge (6-5, 290), has never doubted his ability and thought he would have a chance to play college at the next level.

But for a kid from Idaho, the highest ranked player by Scout to ever come from the state, Hoge never envisioned his recruitment blowing up the way it has.

"From the beginning, I never really doubted what I could do," said Hoge. "But I didn't think it would be to this magnitude. The good thing is, it's not overwhelming. I've enjoyed every bit of it. It's taken me places I never dreamed of going and I can't wait to see where my future takes me."

Hoge has offers from Notre Dame, Boise State, BYU, California, Duke, Florida, LSU, North Carolina, Oregon State, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State.

"BYU was my first offer," said Hoge. "And every school that has offered, I've always thought that, that's huge for me."

Still admits that one offer caught his attention more than others.

"The one from Notre Dame, that was big," said Hoge. "Because it's the top of my list, and it was such an honor to get an offer from a school with so much prestige in football and then the school itself. I was humbled by the situation and humbled by the opportunity that they're offering me."

This week, two more Pac-12 schools got involved when Oregon State offered Tuesday afternoon and UCLA followed suit Tuesday evening.

"I had been in contact with Coach (Danny) Langsdorf (at Oregon State) over Facebook for quite a while," said Hoge. "We set up a time to set up a call, so I called him and we touched base about how my season was going. Then he offered me. I was elated because that was awesome. It's another one to ponder about and another great opportunity."

UCLA joined the mix just a few hours later.

"I had been in contact with UCLA for a while with multiple staff members and also with Coach (Adrian) Klemm," said Hoge. "He gave my head coach a call, and my coached relayed that he wanted me to give Coach Klemm a call. It was the first time I ever talked to him as a person for the first time. And he offered me and that was really big for me too."

So how Hoge get so much attention being from Idaho?

He credits social media.

"I really think that recruiting has shot to the stars with me largely because of Facebook. I have been able to keep in contact with multiple coaches for which I'm definitely thankful. It's been very easy with technology," said Hoge.

Hoge said a handful of schools were already recruiting him pretty hard.

"I think BYU is recruiting me very hard as well as Notre Dame, Florida and UCLA," said Hoge. "They all will be recruiting me hard and already have been, with letters in the mail, Facebook every now and then. Those are the top four schools I've had the most contact with and they've definitely been recruiting me hard for a while. And definitely Penn State too."

Stanford has also been a factor early on, Hoge citing their academics.

"Academics are No. 1 and that's how I'm going to look at the process," said Hoge. "There is a short window for football, even if you have a fantastic career, because you're still retiring in your 30s and there is a lot of life ahead of you. It's nice to have that degree to fall back on. You want to keep excelling and not fall behind the 8-ball when football is over all."

Hoge has grown up around football, his uncle Merrill Hoge, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, and since he was a child, Tristen has dreamed of playing professionally.

"I think like any football player, the goal is the NFL and something I've strived for my entire life," said Hoge. "But I'm not just looking for a great team, I'm looking for a team setting and I want to get a good relationship with the coaches. With parents far away from home, I'm different than most kids, I'll have no problem with that. Knowing my parents won't be there, I'll have a family of coaches that will be there, and they'll be the parental figures watching over. I really want to get a strong bond and team atmosphere. It's like I saw at Florida and Notre Dame. I liked that team atmosphere. I want to experience what they do, how well they bond and be close to the people next to me. Those will be your best friends through college."

Hoge is ranked as the No. 2 guard prospect in the 2015 class, but most schools see him sliding over to center.

"Most schools have recruited me as a center," said Hoge. "Penn State is recruiting me as an offensive lineman, but Stanford, Notre Dame and Florida have all said center. As a center, versatility helps, primarily that I can handle the ball and make calls. But it's very important to have that center-quarterback exchange and I've been doing that so it's a plus as well."

Hoge said he's done growing for the most part.

"My doctors said this will be the height for the rest of my life so just to have a healthy body mass and not be overly unhealthy big. They say I'm done growing but the weight can pack on so to be healthy," said Hoge.

Hoge is planning a few unofficial visits in the coming weeks.

"I have a few planned this year," said Hoge. "I'm going to BYU this weekend for the Georgia Tech game this weekend. Then next week I'm going to Notre Dame for the USC game and that should be a fantastic game. Then Florida for the Florida State game and I'm real excited for that. Those are the three for the moment."

Hoge said he's certain to visit Penn State and UCLA in the spring.

He's also hoping to have a decision not long before his senior season starts.

"Ideally, I want to do it before senior year, so I want to get visits done," said Hoge. "Of course, that depends on my perspective at the end of summer, which could be different from now."

Having watched old tapes of his uncle, Hoge was drawn to the center on those Steeler teams, opening holes for him.

"I've gathered inspiration from Dermontti Dawson," said Hoge. "My uncle played on the same team with him and he's an idol in my eyes. He's a top-notch center. Now, in the modern day, I watch Maurkice Pouncey. I look to him on Sunday's. I watch his technique and form. He's always finishing guys."

Hoge was an all-underclass selection at the Oregon NFTC and plans to return to the NFTC circuit next spring, as well as FBU.

The spring will also be when he'll take the SAT, with plans to take the ACT this fall. Currently, he's carrying a 4.2 GPA.

Highland is 6-0 and heads into their first road game of the year, against Skyline.

"This will actually be our first outdoor game," said Hoge. "But we never let the cold stop us in anything."

Brandon is in his ninth year with and FOXSportsNext, currently as a National Recruiting Analyst and West Regional Manager. Prior to joining the Scout Recruiting Team, he was a team recruiting writer.  He's been covering recruiting for the Scout Network since 2003.
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