Fresno State Football

Bulldogs’ Hokit Plan could pay off large, on the football field and the wrestling mat

Fresno State’s Josh Hokit reveals his favorite fast food

Fresno State two-sport student athlete Josh Hokit revealed his favorite fast food and how he maintained his weight during wrestling season.
Up Next
Fresno State two-sport student athlete Josh Hokit revealed his favorite fast food and how he maintained his weight during wrestling season.

Fresno State will start fall camp on Friday and Josh Hokit will be there and in football shape, again, after spending the winter earning All-American honors wrestling for the Bulldogs at 197 pounds.

Hokit is pushing 230 again, looking football fit.

But this camp will be quite a bit different than the three that came before it for the Clovis High grad, who lit up his first fall as a freshman linebacker hitting everything that moved before making a switch to offense where he was deployed as a running back the past two seasons.

HOKIT_Josh_2018_.jpg

Hokit is transitioning to linebacker again, but no matter how deep he is into the playbook and no matter how many plays he makes on the practice field he is likely to redshirt this season, following a plan devised along with coach Jeff Tedford and wrestling coach Troy Steiner that could be big for all three.

“That was just the plan,” Hokit said. “We sat down and talked, coach Tedford and I did, and we just came to the conclusion that would be the best fit. I’m excited to make the switch. …

“We’ll see how it goes. I can still play in four games. I’m not going to take the season off – I’m always going to be ready. My mind is into football 100 percent. I’m just mastering the craft on defense. I have a lot of learn – it has been a long time since I’ve played there.”

After the football season Hokit will wrestle again, this time as a heavyweight, so he will not have to cut weight to get to 197, then put it back on before his last season of college football.

There are obvious benefits to that, from a football standpoint.

From a wrestling standpoint, as well.

hokit2.jpg
Fresno State junior Josh Hokit secured a top-six finish and All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Hokit, who finished fifth, is returning to football and will take part in the final two weeks of spring practices. Keith Kountz Courtesy Fresno State Athletics

At his football weight, Hokit could be every bit as competitive as he was a year ago at 197 when finishing fifth at the NCAA championships.

Heavyweight wrestlers at the Division I level weigh up to 285 pounds. But last season Anthony Cassar from Penn State won the NCAA championship, beating Oklahoma State’s Derek White, and they go about 230 and 240 pounds. Before that, Kyle Snyder from Ohio State was a three-time heavyweight champion wrestling around 220 pounds, taking down much larger opponents.

“Right now, there are not a lot of guys that are real heavy. It’s not like guys are up around 285,” Steiner said. “They’re all around 240, 250. But they can move. They’re very athletic. There’s going to be some learning how to wrestle the weight class because you are going to be dealing with a lot bigger guys than you did at 197 …”“

“I’m not looking at, ‘Oh, I need to put on more weight,’ “ Hokit said. “If you have the strength to match their weight, you’re going to be OK.”

And, next spring, better than OK.

The transition back to football will not include packing on 30-plus pounds, a huge part of the equation. Hokit will be able to focus on increasing strength and football-specific drills. There also will be a base in the Bulldogs’ defense to draw from, which will be the focal point in fall camp.

Hokit joined the Bulldogs for the last part of spring ball, shortly after the NCAA wrestling championships. But, still around 197 pounds, he did not get many reps.

Fresno St UNLV Football (11)
Fresno State running back Josh Hokit (33) celebrates after scoring on a 5-yard run in the Bulldogs’ 48-3 victory over the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, in Las Vegas. John Locher ASSOCIATED PRESS

“I’m just going to attack it, be in the playbook,” Hokit said. “That’s going to be my emphasis this year, to really understand the position and football.

“In wrestling, I’ve really become obsessed with the small details. This season, I watched every single match at my weight class. Every single one. There had to be more than 100, probably 200. I want to do that in football. It’s a game of inches and that one little detail could separate you from the average people to be among the best and that’s what I’m here to do, to be the best at everything I do.”

Hokit this fall will take reps at the Mike (middle) and the Will (weak side) linebacker spots, but if all goes to plan Fresno State could set itself up nicely at that middle linebacker spot going from Jeff Allison in 2017 and ‘18 to Mykal Walker in 2019 and perhaps to Hokit in 2020.

Allison was a two-time first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection and a year ago the defensive player of the year in the conference. Walker this season is moving to the Mike, a more natural position than defensive end where he was first-team all-conference.

Hokit will be aiming to be just as if not more productive.

“Mykal Walker, that’s a perfect fit,” he said. “Don’t be surprised if he breaks a lot of Jeff’s numbers that he did. That dude works hard. He’s in the film room. He does everything right. He’s big, fast. Everything you want in a middle linebacker. He’s going to be a great leader.

“But once this year is over, I’m going to be looking to top all of them. That’s just the mentality. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But don’t be surprised if it does.”

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
  Comments