FOOTBALL: Hoke keeping with family tradition

For safety Kyle Hoke, Ball State University football is a family tradition.

His father, Jon, played for the Cardinals from 1976-1979 and his mother was Homecoming Queen and the daughter of former assistant coach Jim Hilles. And of course, Kyle's uncle, Brady, the former Ball State captain and head coach can't be forgotten either.

Last year, as a freshman, Kyle played for his uncle.

"I personally felt some pressure," Kyle said. "It's fun to have a family member there and from a comfort standpoint, it made me a little more comfortable."

Brady left for San Diego State University last year, but Kyle said the transition wasn't difficult for him.

"It's been real easy," Kyle said. "All the coaches that we've got now are really good. Coach [Stan] Parrish was here last year, so at least it's a familiar face."

In his sophomore season, Kyle has seen an increase in his role. He played in 12 games on special teams as a freshman, and this year Parrish considers him a key part of the unit.

"They've done a real good job and they've done it on virtually every kick coverage all year long," Parrish said. "There's about five or six that are the core of the special teams for us. They're out there every single play."

Kyle's impact on special teams was felt at Auburn University when he recovered a muffed punt on the 18-yard line a minute into the game. That play allowed the Cardinals to take a 7-0 lead on the Tigers. Kyle also has three tackles this year.

While spending time on special teams. Kyle continues to learn his position behind Alex Knipp and Sean Baker. Knipp has only three games left at Ball State before he graduates, and Kyle wants to be sure to learn as much as possible.

"He's someone I really look up to," Kyle said. "He's a lot more athletic than I think people give him credit for."

Kyle said because of their busy schedules, he and Brady don't get to catch up that often, but they keep an eye on each other's progress.

"I call him, he'll call me every now and then," Kyle said.

Even without Brady, the Hoke family tradition still runs strong.

"It's fun thinking that we were all in the same place in college doing the same thing I am right now," Kyle said.


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