Hoback Starts Tough Task of Replacing Sunlake Offense

There’s a lot of potential when you look at Jonathan Hoback.

Heck, there’s just a lot of human when you look at Jonathan Hoback. Certainly not in a bad way, his tall, lanky frame suits him well for what he wants to do in the upcoming season.

Hoback was a midseason call-up from junior varsity in his freshman year, and played in limited time for the Sunlake Seahawks throughout the 2016 season, mainly spending time at defensive end. Standing at 6’4”, it made sense, his length combined with a good initial jump got him into the backfield often when he did play.

Sunlake TE Jonathan Hoback at the 2016 Xecutives Showcase.
Sunlake TE Jonathan Hoback at the 2016 Xecutives Showcase.

The sophomore collected 12 tackles on the season, four of those being TFLs. He caused a fumble in Sunlake’s 62-0 dismantling of Gulf early in the year. There’s a lot of potential for him at defensive end, one that could possibly turn into a Bobby Roundtree (Largo)-type defensive end if he were to keep at the position.

Even so, Hoback continues to sign up as a tight end at many of the BCP camps. He’s been a constant figure on the camp circuit throughout the past year of camps and was one of the few freshmen that earned an Xecutive invite last offseason, as a tight end.

“I really feel that tight end is my better position. There was a senior at tight end last year, but I just keep working towards that starting spot. I enjoy playing at defensive end, it’s kind of a secondary priority for me,” Hoback said. He’ll get a good amount of reps and chances as one of the more polished players on a Sunlake offense that goes into a rebuilding and reloading state in 2017.

The Seahawks will lose most of their offensive production in guys like QB Justin Hall, RBs Justin Metzger and Kevis Warren, and WRs Cris Galdos, Ryan Clark, and Tyler Peretti to graduation. Those guys combined for 3,042 of Sunlake’s 3,330 yards of total offense – 91 percent of the total offense, gone. That 3,042 doesn’t even account for ALL of the seniors that grab their diplomas later this year.

There’s work to do, and that work has already been started according to Hoback.

“All of those guys were absolutely great player and it will be hard to replace them. We’ve been in the weight room nearly every day, every Friday is a day that the receivers work on routes, so we’ve been working a lot already,” Hoback said. The potential starting QB, Ryan Kasper, is currently on the basketball court, but it just proves Hoback’s point.

“Everybody is working. Whether it be weight room or in other sports.”

People on the outside are starting to doubt whether Sunlake is losing their once-tight grip on Pasco County after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2012, with all of their offensive weapons at their disposal. Without them, things could really could be shaken up.

“I can understand what they’re saying because we have a ton of young guys on our team. But honestly, I feel that we’re going to speak with our shoulder pads. Just with what’s been going on in the weight room, we’ve had a really good offseason thus far,” Hoback said.

Hoback is committed to the weight room and improving through strength training, focusing on filling out his long frame. “I think I have a really good work-ethic. I gained 40 pounds since my freshman year just by getting in the weight room as much as I could.”

In order for Hoback to become even better of a high school football player and eventually a college prospect, he just needs more reps at tight end. Mentioned before, he’ll get that opportunity in 2017, but it’s about the execution in order to take advantage of those opportunities. He’s got soft hands as a tight end, and his height certainly doesn’t hurt in route running. His blocking ability is getting there. Again, more repetitions will help. The potential is certainly there for the tight end that has big shoes to fill for the Seahawks.

Mitchell is the back-to-back district champion in 6A-6, in which they hose the Ignite Showcase DL MVP in Dominic Marino on the outside. In certain situations, that’s going to be Hoback’s guy to block. It will be vital to have Hoback to perform well in those situations. “I don’t think we have to focus on one guy with them or on any team, I feel with the work that we’ve put in, we’ll be just fine.”

They’ve got some work to do either way.

It’s getting done. Hoback is making sure of it.