CLAYTON — Clayton junior football player Eric Hoy is not one to bring a lot of attention to himself or make a lot of demands. So when Hoy approached Clayton head coach Randy Pinkowski this past offseason with a concern, Pinkowski listened.
Hoy had always seen himself as an offensive player, but the Comets were using him solely on the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback.
A week into practice, a hesitant Hoy approached Pinkowski.
He came into the office and said, Coach, Im a running back, Pinkowski said. I said to him: You know what you are? You are the best corner in the program, but if youll be patient with me, I have a lot of things that I am going to ask you to do before we get done.
That wasnt coach speak.
Through five games, the versatile player has done just about everything possible for a 5-1 Clayton team.
Hes rushed for 391 yards and four of touchdowns. He has 240 yards receiving and three touchdown receptions.
Hoy also has returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown, threw for a two-point conversion and intercepted a pass from his cornerback position.
In all, Hoy has accounted for more than 800 all-purpose yards.
Ive always been an offensive player, so when they had me on the starting (defense) I was a little worried, said Hoy, who deflects any praise thrown his way to his teammates. But I was always going to believe in coach to put me where he thought I would play best at.
Its been great touching the ball, but I wouldnt be able to do anything without my teammates.
The 5-foot-6, 140-pound Hoy has served as a great complement to fellow running back Jace Brown, who entered this week as the teams leading rusher with 382 yards on the ground and five touchdowns.
Hoy has also become one of quarterback Sam Mays most reliable targets and leads the team in receiving.
Hoy credits the strong play of Rashan McKey for allowing him to be as effective as he has been at cornerback.
But most importantly for the Comets, Hoys playmaking abilities and quick-strike potential will force every other Greater Neuse River Conference team to account for where he is on the field for every play hes in the game.
Clayton opened conference play Sept. 27, playing host to Harnett Central.
Erics the great story, Pinkowski said. Hes a smaller player, really works hard in the weight room to develop himself and get bigger and stronger.
He comes to practice every day, does the work and rarely says a word.
But maybe the best words Pinkowski had to describe his junior player sum up Hoy best:
Hes a classic Clayton player.