Hoying inherited father's football genes
As the son of a former Ohio State football star, Watterson junior quarterback Jacob Hoying inevitably will be regarded as a chip off the old block.
But Hoying, who has helped Watterson to a 2-0 start, doesn’t seem fazed about living up to the legacy of his dad, Bob, who was a prolific quarterback for the Buckeyes from 1993 to 1995 and spent six seasons in the NFL.
"I don’t feel any pressure at all about that," Jacob Hoying said. "I don’t get compared to my Dad. I never saw him play, except on film, and I doubt that many of my friends even know who he is unless their fathers told them."
Bob Hoying, who led St. Henry to a state title in football and two in basketball before guiding Ohio State to a 30-7-1 record his final three seasons, is low key about his role in Jacob’s development. He is a volunteer assistant for Watterson who works in the background with the offense but prefers not to be called a coach.
"From the time Jake was little, he was always around (football)," said the elder Hoying, who is principal at Crawford Hoying, a real estate corporation based in Dublin. "He started playing in fourth grade and, naturally, we started working closely together. It’s never been a situation of trying to turn him into a superstar. He just likes to play the game, and I offer advice when I can."
Hoying ranks third on Ohio State’s career list in passing yards (7,232) and is tied for second in TD passes (57). An elbow injury in 2001 cut short his pro career, which included 13 starts with the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders.
Sports were always prominent in the Hoying household. Bob’s grandfather, Wally Post, played 15 seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. The wife of University of Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, Amy, is a sister of Hoying’s wife, Jill, and the families have always been tight.
"We were always immersed in football," Jacob said. "Dad always helped me when I was younger, teaching me the proper form and fundamentals. Now, our discussions are about reading defenses, executing the game plan and developing my football IQ."
Jacob splashed on to the scene as a sophomore, completing 126 of 198 passes for 1,313 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions before suffering a season-ending broken collarbone on a horse collar tackle in a week seven game against Youngstown Ursuline.
Now 6 feet 1½ and 197 pounds, Hoying passed for 326 yards and five TDs this season in wins over Lancaster (24-22) and Maria Stein Marion Local (31-7).
The Eagles were coming off their worst six-year stretch in program history (21-39), but a 5-5 finish in 2018 offered promise.
"Our coaches watched Jake play in grade school at St. Brigid of Kildare, and we thought he was going to be special," Watterson coach Brian Kennedy said.
Before Kennedy took over in 2017, the staff already was transitioning from its decades-old run-based wing-T to a multiset offense with West Coast and spread elements.
"We wanted to put our kids into a position of best utilizing their skills with screens and short passes," Kennedy said. "Jake is really good at making presnap decisions and getting the ball out quick."
Although overall numbers are a bit down, 14 of Watterson’s 19 juniors saw plenty of action in 2018, and its lower classes show promise as well.
"The kids have bought into the culture and what we’re trying to achieve," Kennedy said. "They’re starting to show a lot of confidence, which is a by-product of winning. Jake is a big part of the change of culture we’ve had here."