Hoetger ready to walk the walk-on at ACU
On the football field, Plano Senior alumnus Holt Hoetger is no stranger of adversity.
The since-graduated Wildcat had to fight to maintain a spot in an electric 2008 Plano offense that boasted some of the area’s top skill position players in Nebraska product Rex Burkhead and Stephen F. Austin receiver Kris Lott.
One year later, Hoetger was as instrumental a piece as any in a rollercoaster 2009 campaign for a Wildcat squad that battled uphill to a postseason berth.
And in making the first step of his post-Plano career, the wide out will endure no shortage of adversity as a prospective walk-on at Abilene Christian University.
A recruiting process that took form midway through last season, Hoetger first got in touch with ACU linebackers coach Joseph Walker, who was scouting all throughout the Metroplex.
“Basically, it came down to me and a few defensive players,” Hoetger said, “and they needed some defensive guys more than skill position players, where they’re pretty solid. They knew I really wanted to go there and I already had an academic scholarship there.”
Already having fielded scholarship offers from a bevy of smaller schools in the likes of Oklahoma and Mississippi, while also noting considerations for Austin College, the locality of ACU and the insistence from the team’s coaching staff gave the receiver pause in his chances as a walk-on.
“They said that if I do well enough, they’d definitely scholarship me,” Hoetger said. “They already sent me a letter of intent, so they’re really happy that I’m coming down there.”
That, coupled with a compact, down-home atmosphere made the campus an instant plus for Hoetger.
“When I went to ACU, I felt at home,” he said. “It was a nice, small, Christian school. Their football program there was great; I liked the coaches and the players enjoyed it all. It’s a good football college and they take it seriously.”
In joining the Wildcats, a team that has been a fixture in the top tier of the Lone Star Conference for the past few years, Hoetger won’t just be donning the same mascot as high school days, but will be joined by fellow teammate and alumnus Ashton Williams, who will be continuing his football career at ACU as well.
“[Williams] has a scholarship there and he’s really excited about it,” Hoetger said. “We’ve been working out together and preparing to get in shape. We leave August 11 for the start of training there for walk-ons and incoming freshmen … It’s really nice to have another teammate there and someone you’ve played with.”
But in admitting that he started a bit late in the game, and encouraging any prospective high school athlete to begin the recruiting process as soon as possible, Hoetger’s road to hoe will be a bit trickier in hopes of walking on to the football squad.
With just under two months to prepare for his first taste of the college football experience, Hoetger said he isn’t entirely sure what to expect as a walk-on and what he’ll be subjected to on the field.
But there won’t be any shortage of support in his pursuit of taking that next step.
“His mother and I are very, very proud,” said Todd Hoetger, Holt’s father. “I think he picked an excellent school and the coaching staff there treated him very much with open arms. We’re just excited for his future.”
And for the prospective business marketing major, taking that next step wouldn’t be par for the course for Hoetger if it didn’t involve a little adversity along the way.
“It’ll be different playing under a new coach and all,” Hoetger said. “I’ll still be playing as a Wildcat, just not as a Plano Wildcat where there’s so much spirit. It’ll be different and it’s going to be one step up.”