Del Norters that were disappointed not to hear former Del Norte graduate Cody Hoffman’s name called in the 2014 NFL draft on Saturday had reason to celebrate just hours after the draft’s completion.
Hoffman, who played wide receiver at Brigham Young University, announced the next step in his football career via Twitter, saying “I’m taking my talents to Washington D.C. to play for the Redskins!”
Hoffman reportedly signed a three-year contract worth $1,537,500, including a $7,500 signing bonus.
By signing with the Redskins, Hoffman became the first-ever Del Norte athlete to join the NFL and just the third Warrior — after recently-retired CFL quarterback Buck Pierce and Drew Roberts, who was drafted but never played for the AFL’s Oakland Raiders in 1963 — to play football professionally at any level.
Roberts was taken by the Oakland Raiders in the 13th round of the AFL draft before the merger with the NFL. Roberts didn’t end up on the Raiders' roster that year.
Del Norte has only had a handful of players in any sport play professionally. Dave Brous Jr. pitched for the San Francisco Giants organization, reaching as high as Triple AA, Stacy Morgan played in the Yankees minor league system for four years and Lee Templeton played in the Yankees and Red Sox organizations back in the 1950s.
“He has reached the pinnacle,” said Hoffman’s high school football coach Louis Nova. “Great for him.”
Nova wasn’t too surprised that Hoffman was able to go further in football than anyone else in the county.
“I watched him from youth on up, and he was always an athlete that was above everybody else,” Nova said. “Not that he acted better than everybody, but he was a better athlete than anyone around him. I knew that if he continued to grow, he would have good things happen to him.”
After sitting out as a redshirt-freshman in 2009, Hoffman has emerged as the most prolific wide receiver in BYU history.
He finished his career with BYU as the Cougars’ career leader in every major receiving category. Among other school records, Hoffman is the career leader in receptions at BYU with 260, in receiving yards with 3,612 and in receiving touchdowns with 33.
Hoffman always seemed to play his best for BYU when the Cougars were on their biggest stages. Hoffman played in four bowl games while at BYU and recorded at least 100 yards receiving in each of them.
Hoffman burst onto the national scene as a redshirt-freshman with 8 catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns in BYU’s 52-24 bowl victory over UTEP. The next year he caught eight passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns in the Armed Forces Bowl; he caught 10 passes for 114 yards in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2012, and in his last college game, the 2012 Fight Hunger Bowl, Hoffman caught 12 passes for 167 yards.
Hoffman was initially projected as a mid-round to late round draft pick after the season. Due to a very deep wide receiver draft class this year and below average athletic numbers at the NFL combine (below average for the NFL — he is still faster, stronger and can jump higher than about 99 percent of all human beings) Hoffman slipped out of the draft.
Hoffman is no stranger to being under-appreciated, however. Despite having a standout career at Del Norte High School, Hoffman was under-recruited after his senior season. Only Sacramento State and BYU offered him a scholarship.
“He is in the same scenario right now that he was in when he went to BYU,” Nova said. “Right now it is all in his corner. Listening to (BYU’s) coaching staff, working hard in the offseason and doing what he needed to do to get himself to the level he was at BYU was amazing. He has the ability, now we are going to be able to sit back and watch him do it.”
Hoffman still has work to do to secure a spot on Washington’s roster this fall. Although Hoffman signed a three-year contract with the team, contracts in the NFL are not guaranteed and can be terminated at almost any time.
Rosters going into training camp can include up to 90 players. That has to be trimmed down to 53 players by the time the season starts.
Washington already had eight wide receivers heading into the draft and added Ryan Grant from Tulsa in the fifth round.
Hoffman is a busy man this week and was unavailable for comment. He has, however agreed to catch up with the Triplicate next week.
Stay tuned to the Triplicate in the coming weeks, months and years as Hoffman embarks on his journey into professional football.