It seems like a long time ago since senior BYU receiver Cody Hoffman committed to Coach Mendenhall back in January of 2009. It all started when a teacher at Del Norte High School by the name of Terry Vance, who happened to play college football with Bronco Mendenhall, informed BYU's head coach of a talented but relatively unknown and overlooked football player attending the small school located in Crescent City, California. Two weeks later Hoffman was on campus checking out BYU, and the rest is history.
Fast forward more than four years later, and Hoffman has racked up 3,029 receiving yards, just 226 yards shy of Austin Collie's record of 3,255. Hoffman is also tied with Dennis Pitta with 221 career catches. Hoffman just needs one more catch to be BYU's all-time reception leader, and one more touchdown reception to tie record of Collie's 30. Both of those records could fall this Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae said that one of the keys to Hoffman’s success in approaching numerous school records is longevity.
"You've got to start out coming out of the blocks as a freshman and get in a rotating mix, and he's done that,” said Anae. “He's continued to be a dependable for four years, and it's a credit to Cody that he's at that stage right now."
"Cody's done a great job within our offense and in previous offenses in the past," said quarterback coach Jason Beck. "He's been reliable and really has made some great catches this year and in years past. It's no surprise to me he's where he's at in his college career."
What is impressive about Hoffman's accomplishments is the fact that he's been able to rise above past pass-catching greats despite having been a part of multiple offensive schemes and playing with a number of different starting quarterbacks. It's a wonder what Hoffman could have accomplished with more consistency in the schemes he played in and much more continuity and dependability at the quarterback position.
"You know, you look at a bunch of really good players and a bunch of really good schemes that should have put that thing in some distance, but to Cody's credit, no matter the quarterback or the scheme, he's been there," said Anae. "[He’s been] a proven commodity for years. I'm very excited he's back in full swing."
"I think he's really starting to get into the groove of really working on every play, and a lot of that had to do with the injury," said wide receiver coach Guy Holliday. "I haven't had one as skilled as him as far as body control. I've had some really good ones."
One of those "good ones" Coach Holliday spoke of is former NFL wide receiver Reggie Barlow, who was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996. Barlow is among the Jaguars' career leaders for punt returns and punt return yards (967). In 2002, Barlow joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and helped them win their first Super Bowl.
"Reggie Barlow, who was a second-round pick for me at Alabama State, was about as close I've seen adjusting to the ball, and he was step faster," Coach Holliday said. "But Cody's 6’4”, 217 pounds. You know, he's special in that way, and players create separation in two different ways. Some guys are just straight fast. You know, Greg Jennings (whom Coach Holliday coached while up at Western Michigan) was fast. Cody's big, big and smooth, and it's hard to gauge when you're tall and see how much ground he covers."
Against Georgia Tech, Coach Holliday saw Hoffman blow past prevent-deep route coverage, which made Holliday smile.
"So, he breaks the cushion," Coach Holliday said. "He broke the cushion against a guy on Georgia Tech that was a cover-three corner. You know, he broke the cushion down and that guy had no chance. I mean, he's talented."
This Saturday when the Cougars take on Houston, BYU’s all-time reception record and all-time reception record will be in jeopardy of being broken by Hoffman. Later in the season, the all-time receiving yards record will more than likely fall at the hands of Hoffman as well.
"I'm excited to see his future, and as he develops more in these last six games, you know, hopefully God-willing he breaks the receiving record at BYU," said Coach Holliday, who lights up when talking about the accomplishments of his players. "What's special about him is winning, and that's really important. It's a joy for me to coach."
"We have a lot of plays drawn up for Cody," said quarterback Taysom Hill. "And so he's going to break that easily and, you know, I'm happy to be here with him to see that happen."
Somewhere in the small Northern California town of Crescent City, there is a former high school teacher with a smile on his face.