To borrow a quote from the boxing world, Muhammad Ali once said, "Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
The will to win, and the skill to back it up. That’s a pretty good description of Cody Hoffman, who will take the field Saturday in the final home game of his college career. And what a career it has been, from touchdown number one against Florida State to touchdown number 34 against Wisconsin. And a whole lot in-between.
Before the Houston game, Hoffman was asked about his thoughts regarding the possibilities of him breaking records. He responded, "I’m just going to do what I know how to do best, and just make plays for the team." And that is exactly what Hoffman has done throughout his career at BYU.
The first game Hoffman played as a Cougar was against the Washington Huskies, September 4, 2010. Since that day, Hoffman has played in 46 games and scored 33 receiving touchdowns. And don’t forget the kick return that went 92 yards for a touchdown, the first in 158 games for the Cougars.
During a lighthearted interview with teammate Michael Alisa, which consisted mostly of questions focused on the their dating lives, Hoffman refers to himself as "just your typical BYU student." Hardly. Typical might describe him in a sentence like "a typical bowl game MVP" (which he was), or "a typical NFL draft prospect" (which he is). Otherwise, at least in a football sense, typical does not describe Cody Hoffman.
Hoffman has recently re-written several records at BYU, besting Cougar greats like Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta, and Eric Drage. That’s some pretty good company just to be in, let alone to lead. In just the last three games, Hoffman has earned three top spots on the BYU records list- the all-time receptions leader, the all-time receiving touchdowns leader, and the all-time receiving yards leader.
Receivers Coach Guy Holliday said that Cody Hoffman is one of the most competitive people he’s ever been around. "Cody’s tough as nails." Cody has it all. Body control. Ability to separate from defenders. Overall athletic ability. The will to win, and the skill to back it up. It doesn’t hurt to be 6-4 and 210 either.
Calling Cody Hoffman a champion seems completely justified. Maybe the comparison to Muhammad Ali isn’t quite fair. Maybe Hoffman needs to make his mark playing on Sundays first, which I believe he will. But to a whole new generation of Cougar football fans, who have watched him progress so spectacularly over the past four years, he is one of the greatest.
And all Cougar football fans, as we look back on Hoffman’s remarkable college career, we also look forward to what will come. Saturday afternoon Cody Hoffman, barely recruited out of high school, will play his 47th game of college football, and his last at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Cougar fans will continue to follow his progress as he takes his career to the next level, wherever that may be.
Thank you Cody. It has been a pleasure to be entertained and inspired by you. You truly are one of the greatest.
Don’t miss your chance to say farewell to Cody Hoffman, Kyle Van Noy, Daniel Sorensen, Spencer Hadley, and the other senior players as the Cougars finish their home season this Saturday. Let’s fill the stadium, make some noise, and show our seniors one last time what it’s like to play in front of 65,000 Cougar fans- after all, we are pretty great too.