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Most San Diego football fans are taking a crash course to learn about Larry English, the Chargers’ unexpected first-round draft pick from Northern Illinois.

But one recently transplanted San Diegan knows plenty about English: new San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.

Hoke coached the last five years at Ball State, which plays in the Mid-American Conference along with Northern Illinois.

“He’s a player you had to know where he was all the time,” Hoke said. “Larry is a tremendous athlete. The thing that always struck me about him is how hard he played from snap to whistle. He played with great tenacity and always came ready to play. He always had our attention.”

English, a 6-foot-2, 255-pounder, had 31.5 sacks in his career as a starting defensive end, but the Chargers drafted him as an outside linebacker to bolster their pass rush. Despite the defensive end history, Hoke thinks English can make the transition because Northern Illinois often shifted him into a standup linebacker role.

“They played him at inside linebacker in nickel situations quite a bit,” Hoke said. “He was blitzing in 20different areas as they looked for a matchup weakness. I think he can make the transition. He plays hard and he’s an intelligent kid. That speaks highly of his chances of playing in the (NFL) for a long time.”

— TOM SHANAHAN

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