Provo • Having grown up in the small Northern California town of Crescent City in one of the most remote corners of that state, BYU senior receiver Cody Hoffman says he will never get used to Utah’s crazy drivers, or seeing his likeness plastered on billboards throughout Provo and Utah County.
“Surreal,” he said of the billboards.
Also hard to believe, to many, is the fact that Hoffman has been able to not only survive for five years in Provo, but flourish.
On the field, Hoffman ranks third on BYU’s career receiving touchdowns list (28), fourth on its career receptions list (203) and fifth on its career receiving yards list (2,718). With an average season, by his standards, he will easily become the most prolific receiver at a school that has thrown the football around a little bit in its history.
Off the field, he has also thrived, by most accounts. Hoffman is closing in on a degree in geography and highly respected among his teammates for his work ethic, dedication and perseverance.
“I dunno, that’s tough,” Hoffman said Friday, when asked how a non-LDS kid who was barely recruited out of high school has done so well at a school he didn’t even know existed until one of his teachers back at Del Norte High told BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, a former teammate at Oregon State, about him.
“Just making the right choices. Just common sense, pretty much. Not doing things that I shouldn’t be doing.”
The reasons why Hoffman came back to BYU for his senior season are well-documented. One perhaps under-reported is that he has come to embrace the lifestyle and culture, without losing a sense of his own self, said new receivers coach Guy Holliday.
“You have two choices regarding where you are. You either embrace the grind, or you reject the grind,” Holliday said. “Either you embrace the environment, or you reject it. Cody has embraced it, and I don’t think he has lost any of who he is as a person. He has done things the right way.”
Mendenhall said the way Hoffman has grown to thrive at BYU has been a work in progress and that there were times after Hoffman’s first and second years that coaches thought they might lose him.
“Surprise is probably a minimalistic word for it,” Mendenhall said. “It has been an amazing career for him. … He’s a great young man.”
Hoffman heard rumblings that he would be picked in the fourth or fifth round of the NFL Draft if he left after his junior season, but never submitted the necessary paperwork to get a true analysis from the NFL Scouting Service. Now, he’s working on an insurance policy with the help of BYU compliance coordinator Adam Sanft in case he’s injured before getting a shot at his dream of playing professional football.
“If [fourth or fifth round] is true, I want to be higher than that,” he said, noting that he’s working on his overall speed, his flexibility, and getting in and out of breaks, to increase his NFL stock.
He doesn’t have any specific goals, but acknowledges “it would be cool” to break school receiving records set by Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta and San Francisco 49ers receiver Austin Collie.
“Just make plays, become a playmaker, have the offense be able to count on me,” he said. “Of course, I want a lot of yards, catches, touchdowns. But with our offense having so many playmakers, you just never know what you are going to get.”
What we learned • BYU’s offense has reportedly been having its way with the defense most of the week, but in Friday’s 11-on-11 drills, the defense kept the offense out of the end zone on three series directed by Taysom Hill, Ammon Olsen and Jason Munns, respectively.
Who was hot • Justin Sorensen is emerging out of the three-way battle to be BYU’s opening-day kicker, coach Bronco Mendenhall said. Sorensen was 2 for 3 from 43 yards in end-of-practice field goal attempts.
BYU career receiving records
Category Player Stat
Receptions Dennis Pitta 221
Yards Austin Collie 3,255
Touchdowns Austin Collie 30
Where Hoffman ranks:
Category Total Rank
Receptions 203 4th
Yards 2,718 5th
Touchdowns 28 3rd