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BYU football: Commitment of Nathan Hoke showcases program’s unique strengths

‘Once Brigham Young offered, it was a no-brainer’ the 6-foot-3, 225-pound athlete says

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Head football coach Kalani Sitake talks to his team after BYU opened football practice at the indoor facility in Provo on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. BYU received a commitment from Nathan Hoke, the son of former Cougar defensive end Chris Hoke.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Perhaps one underrated strength of the BYU football program — one that faces an uncertain 2020 as an independent whose schedule has been severely disrupted — is that it still stands as a destination program for players around the country.

Case in point would be the recent commitment of Nathan Hoke, who readily cites BYU as his first choice despite growing up across the country in Wexford, Pennsylvania. He said as much in a recent article published by PGH Sports Now.

“Growing up, I’ve always loved that school and now with a chance to play for them, that was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Hoke said of his decision to commit to BYU.

“What made it better was the eventual chance of playing with my brother. This is a huge day for my family.” — Nathan Hoke

A big reason for his allegiance to BYU stems from his upbringing, with his father, Chris Hoke, having played for the Cougars before spending several years with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.

Earlier this year, Chris Hoke was called as president of the Pittsburgh North Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nathan Hoke will be joining his older brother, Cade Hoke, who is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which played a big role in his decision.

“What made it better was the eventual chance of playing with my brother. This is a huge day for my family,” Nathan Hoke said. “My dad obviously had success in his career, and all he’s ever wanted was to have success in whatever they choose to do. For him to be able to watch my brother and I play D-I football really excites him and he just wants us to start our own journeys like he had his journey.”

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic played in BYU’s favor, with Nathan Hoke unable to fully investigate other programs he was less familiar with.

“It wasn’t for sure that I’d choose (Brigham Young),” Nathan Hoke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Once I saw some other scholarship offers coming in before, I was thinking maybe I might like some other schools if I could get out and visit them. But I was never able to get out and visit anywhere because of the coronavirus, and once Brigham Young offered, it was a no-brainer. The opportunity to possibly play with my brother was something that I couldn’t pass up, either.”

Nathan Hoke’s other offers included Central Michigan, Army, Air Force and Akron.

The plan for the 6-foot-3, 225-pound athlete will be to serve a two-year church mission prior to enrolling at BYU, where he’ll compete at either linebacker or defensive end.