Staying focused not an issue for Hoffman as college career comes to a close

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Following his superb career at BYU, Cody Hoffman is sure to hear his name called during the early rounds of the 2014 NFL draft.

The possibility of a career in professional football would be a distraction for most players, but Hoffman is keeping this season as his top priority.

BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman reaches up to catch a touchdown pass from Riley Nelson while being defended by Idaho corner back Matthew Harvey on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.  The Cougars beat the Vandals 42-7. (Luke Hansen)
BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman reaches up to catch a touchdown pass from Riley Nelson while being defended by Idaho corner back Matthew Harvey on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars beat the Vandals 42-7. (Luke Hansen)

“As far as individual goals, I don’t like to set them because you never know what is going to happen,” Hoffman told BYU Athletics writer Jared Houghton. “My main goal is to try and make every play possible and just stay within myself to help the team win. I want to make plays when I need to make plays and let my team know that they can count on me.”

As his career at BYU winds down, Hoffman is believed by many to be the greatest wide receiver to ever play for the Cougars. In his senior season, Hoffman has set the all-time career mark at BYU for receiving yards, receptions and touchdown receptions.

“It’s crazy. It’s a surreal feeling,” Hoffman said. “Coming out of high school, barely being recruited, thinking that I’d come to a major program like this and rewrite the record book, I never thought that would have happened.”

Growing up in Crescent City, Calif., Hoffman was known around town for his athletic ability. But even after being named an all-conference player three straight years at Del Norte High School, he was only being recruited by one major football program.

Perhaps the most important person witnessing Hoffman’s high school heroics was Terry Vance, a teacher at Del Norte High School. Vance was Bronco Mendenhall’s roommate and teammate on the Oregon State track team during the 1980s, and after seeing how good Hoffman was, Vance called Mendenhall and asked him to take a look.

“Terry called me one day and just said, you know we have a great young man and a great player here and because of our location he’s not being recruited very highly but he has tremendous talent, and, knowing your program, he could be a great fit,” Mendenhall said in a 2011 interview during his weekly radio show on KSL.

Hoffman didn’t know much about BYU when the recruiting process began, let alone The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors the school. But after visiting BYU’s campus, Hoffman knew being a Cougar made sense. He was offered a scholarship shortly after arriving in Provo, and committed a few days later.

“Coming out of high school, I always had the mentality that I wanted to get a scholarship,” Hoffman said. “I was lucky that BYU offered me a scholarship, and it happened to be a prestigious D1 school. I couldn’t ask for much more than that coming from the small town where I’m from. My dream is to play in the NFL, and I felt that coming here would give me the best chance to realize that dream.”

By signing with BYU, Hoffman brought with him a new fan base in his hometown. Residents of Crescent City still keep tabs on Hoffman and are proud of the way he has represented their small town. In 2011, Hoffman was honored in a meeting by the Crescent City Council for his positive contributions to the city, and was even named a town ambassador.

“He’s very disciplined, and he’s made a difference in our community,” former Crescent City mayor Charles Slert said in the meeting regarding Hoffman. “We appreciate what you’re doing for yourself, and in turn, we benefit from that. Thank you. You’re a great ambassador.”

Hoffman’s talents aren’t only recognized by his hometown fans. His coaches and teammates also see those talents and make sure not to take them for granted. Over the past four seasons, many BYU quarterbacks have benefited from Hoffman’s sure hands and precise routes. Current quarterback Taysom Hill knows this and is grateful for the opportunity he’s had to play with Hoffman.

“I love playing with Cody. The thing about Cody is, you never hear about being close to breaking records,” Hill said following a game against Boise State, during which Hoffman set the BYU record for touchdown receptions. “Cody is a guy that wants to win football games. He’s very unselfish. That carries over as an offensive unit. Our other receivers love him because he gets so much attention from the defense. I feel honored to have thrown him the touchdown pass that sent him over the edge.”

Hoffman recently played his final home game at Lavell Edwards Stadium against Idaho State. It was the last time many Cougar fans would have the chance to witness one of the greatest wide receivers in BYU history play on his home field — a bittersweet moment for many.

“It’s amazing that he’s been able to set the records he has considering how good past BYU teams have been,” said BYU fan and former student Andy Allred. “That being said, we’re really gonna miss him next year. He’s going to be really hard to replace.”

Even with his record-setting career coming to an end, and an inevitable NFL career in his near future, this season has remained Hoffman’s top priority, and his weekly statistics have backed that up. Cougar fans will be able to to see Hoffman wearing their team’s jersey three more times this season. BYU has two regular season games remaining this year and has accepted an invitation to the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, which will be the final game of Hoffman’s legendary college career. Look for Hoffman to leave it all out on the field, just like he’s done day in and day out during his BYU career.

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