HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– When Marshall entered the redzone last season, defenses had to take note of where tight end Gator Hoskins was lined up. He became a favorite target for Rakeem Cato inside the 20-yard line, snagging 10 touchdown catches. In fact, about one in every three of Hoskins receptions were for points.
Hoskins has picked up this August right where he left off last season, grabbing a touchdown pass from Blake Frohnapfel in Tuesday’s practice.
“It was a designed route,” Hoskins explains. “I was one-on-one with with the defensive end and Blake just threw a great ball and it was easy for me to catch it.”
Hoskins is glad to be back at full speed with the team this preseason. The Mackey Award watch list candidate was limited during spring practice and spent his time watching rather participating.
“I’m just getting back into the grove these last couple of practices and it just feels good to be out here,” Hoskins says.
The senior from Gainsville, Fla. has evolved into a formidable weapon for the Thundering Herd. Hoskins saw action in 13 games in 2011 but caught just 14 passes. His production more than doubled last year, catching 35 balls and averaging 10.7 yards per reception. Now in his senior season, Hoskins continues to evolve. He knows it is his turn to be a team leader.
“I’m a senior leader on the offense and the other guys just need to make plays. I just want to be a guy who makes plays,”
However, don’t expect Hoskins to be giving any rah-rah speeches before a game. He is the type of player who wants to set the tone and lead by example.
“I try to be a vocal leader but I try to mainly lead by example,” said Hoskins. “Coach (Bill) Legg always says your actions speak so loud I can’t hear your words.”
Catching ten touchdowns and averaging over ten yards a catch speaks loudly.
Can Hoskins match that production again in 2013?
Defenses will certainly be aware of his presence when Marshall marches inside the opponents 20-yard line. But he won’t be the only threat opposing defenses will have to defend against.
“I know when we get in the redzone a lot of teams are going to be focused on that and I’ve just got to be ready to make plays in the middle of the field,” knows Hoskins.
Hoskins is ready for the challenge.