North Allegheny’s Nate Hoke commits to ‘dream school’ BYU, where dad played

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020 | 11:38 AM


Nate Hoke doesn’t promote himself on social media like many athletes his age.

A rising senior at North Allegheny and the son of a former NFL player, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker prefers to let his play on the football field speak for itself. But this summer, with college campuses closed and recruiting camps canceled, nobody was able to see his hard work.

So, Hoke adapted.

With help from his father Chris, he made a 42-second video showing his quickness, agility and size. It drew immediate results. Brigham Young, his “dream school” and his father’s alma mater, offered Hoke a scholarship July 25.

Hoke quickly accepted.

“The thing that was holding back a lot of colleges was they didn’t know how big I was and how I could move,” Hoke said. “We posted it on Twitter. Once they saw that, the next day they text me and asked if they could call me.

“That’s when they offered me.”

Hoke waited until Monday to announce his commitment. He also had offers from Air Force, Akron, Army, Central Michigan, Duquesne, Fordham, Eastern Illinois and Navy.

He was concerned the coronavirus pandemic would limit his college options.

Ideally, recruiters would’ve visited his school last spring. He would’ve attended campus this summer and committed later this fall. But the pandemic closed schools and disrupted the recruiting process for many in his 2021 graduating class.

“I was stressing,” he said, “because I wanted to play my senior year and maybe get some more offers. Now that I’ve got that (BYU) offer and committed, it takes a little stress away.”

The Hoke family’s connections to BYU and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are strong. His father Chris Hoke played for the Cougars in the late 1990s before become a Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive tackle. His older brother, Cade, committed to BYU last year and is serving on a mission trip with the Mormon church.

“I’ve been to the campus a couple of times,” Nate Hoke said. “Walking around the campus, looking at it and meeting everybody, it’s a school that’s always been high on my list. I’ve always been a Cougar fan since I was a kid. I’ve been raised up as that. I always told myself, if I get an offer and the time’s right, I’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Hoke plays inside linebacker for North Allegheny but his position on BYU’s defense isn’t set. Cougars coaches said they’ll wait to see how Hoke develops. He could play inside or outside linebacker, but might move to defensive end, depending on his size.

“They want to see how big I get,” he said.

BYU went 7-6 last season in coach Kalani Sitake’s fourth season.

Hoke’s father carried a BYU alumni flag for a game at Toledo last fall, but Nate said he never felt pressured to pick the Cougars.

“He wanted to know it was all my decision about where I wanted to go to college,” Hoke said. “Once he heard and realized me and my brother were going to be out there and playing together, he was pumped up and excited for us.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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