No one journey to Provo is the same for members of the BYU Football team. Some depart on missions right after high school and some will leave to serve after one year of playing. There are those that go the JC route and others that join the team as graduate transfers, like running backs Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esukpa. For offensive lineman Tristen Hoge, there was a journey to one of college football most storied programs before making his way to Provo.
In 2015 Hoge was honored as a Parade All-American, a U.S. Army All-American and All-USA Today after an impressive career at Highland High School in Idaho. Many of the online publications considered him to be the No. 1 center in the recruiting class of 2015, earning him scholarship offers from Penn State, UCLA, Florida, USC, Stanford, North Carolina, Michigan State, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Florida State and last but not least, Notre Dame. He signed with the Fighting Irish and was able to contribute as a key member of the scout team, even getting playing time in six games. For whatever reason he decided to end his days in South Bend and head to Provo.
Could it have been the prospect of playing with his cousin Beau that led Tristen to become a Cougar? Maybe it was the prospect of being a leader as opposed to just another cog in the machine? Either way, after a year of sitting out due to transfer rules. Hoge made a name for himself on BYU’s offensive line, becoming a steadying force on an offensive unit that experienced it’s fair share of ups and downs.
Everyone this offseason has been talking about the impressive rise of Zach Wilson and the talented running backs that grad-transfered in but one of the overlooked reasons for optimism it’s the fact that BYU’s offensive returns some very experienced players led by Hoge. No matter how many skill players a team has, they won’t be nearly as effective without a solid group of lineman paving the way. So when the Cougars take the field this fall, look for a leader in good ole #69.