Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hokit explains why playing fullback for the 49ers is different than the rest of the NFL

Jun 14, 2021 at 10:15 AM--

Josh Hokit played running back for the Fresno State Bulldogs, rushing for 1,260 yards and 17 touchdowns on 303 carries in his four collegiate seasons. He also hauled in 38 receptions for 260 yards, showing off some versatility.

Hokit is learning to play fullback for the San Francisco 49ers after signing as an undrafted free agent last year. While the transition from running back to fullback for the 6-foot-1 and 225-pound player might not seem like too big of a stretch, the 49ers don't utilize typical fullbacks. Just look at Kyle Juszczyk, who is viewed as a versatile piece on head coach Kyle Shanahan's chessboard. He can run, catch, block, and do it all from multiple spots on the field.

"There's many things about this fullback position," Hokit recently told ABC 30 News in Fresno. "Fullback, in particular, you would think it's a hard-nosed, you meet me in the hole, and the best man wins, for the most part. But this one, you're lined up [at] receiver in the slot. You're lined up at tight end, running back. You're lined up everywhere. And so, it's exciting. It keeps you on your toes.

"It makes you feel involved in the game, unlike other fullback positions where you play about five snaps a game. You make your block; you get out of there. This fullback position, you're playing over 50 percent of snaps in the game, so it keeps you involved, and it's exciting."

Hokit didn't benefit from a full offseason last year, which made the transition to fullback even more challenging.

"You can only learn so much over a Zoom meeting, studying the playbook," Hokit said. "So, it was really difficult, especially (since) our first time repping it in the plays was in [training camp] where in previous years, or even this year, we're in OTAs right now (the interview obviously took place before OTAs were canceled last week). I didn't even get that last year. So, the first time ever practicing these plays was in [training camp]."

When he finally got into the locker room, he admits it was a bit intimidating coming face-to-face with stars like George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo. Even hearing Garoppolo speak directly to him via Zoom was a bit surreal.

"Now they're my boys," the fullback said.

Hokit was also asked about the quarterback situation on his team. Garoppolo is slated to be the Week 1 starter, but the 49ers drafted Trey Lance at No. 3 overall to be the eventual successor.

"It's going to bring the best out of both of them," Hokit said. "There's competition. It's going to elevate Jimmy's game, it's going to elevate Trey's game, because that's what competition does, and I'm really excited to see how it turns out and how it plays out."

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