PROVO — Despite the turbulent start to Cody Hoffman’s senior season, the BYU wide receiver is on the cusp of breaking a couple of the school’s all-time receiving records.
Hoffman, who has missed two games this year due to an injury and a suspension, enters Saturday’s game at Houston (1:30 p.m. MDT, ESPNEWS) tied with Dennis Pitta for No. 1 in career receptions at BYU with 221. One more catch would propel Hoffman past Pitta for the top spot.
“It would mean a lot,” Hoffman said of shattering the record. “There have been a lot of good receivers here and a lot of great players overall. For me to break the record would be a great feeling. It’s in the back of my head. I know it’s there, but at the same time, I’m just going to do what I do best and make plays for the team.”
Hoffman is also tied with Eric Drage at No. 2 for all-time career touchdown catches (29), just one short of the all-time leader, Austin Collie, who had 30 TD grabs.
In last Saturday’s 38-20 victory over Georgia Tech, Hoffman caught five passes for 99 yards, including an amazing 45-yard touchdown catch. “It was a good catch,” Hoffman said. “When it first happened, it was like a normal catch and I didn’t think too much about it. But then it was on 'SportsCenter,' so, I mean, it couldn’t have been too bad of a catch.”
“That was a good one,” BYU receivers coach Guy Holliday said of Hoffman’s TD reception. “As far as having a guy draped over you and adjusting to the ball, that was big-time.”
Hoffman needs just 227 yards to surpass Collie as BYU’s all-time leading receiver — Collie recorded 3,255 yards; Hoffman currently has 3,029. Also, Hoffman needs three more 100-yard receiving games to eclipse Collie in that category.
A lightly recruited wideout from Crescent City, Calif., Hoffman redshirted at BYU in 2009 and made a significant impact as a redshirt freshman in 2010. Last season, Hoffman hauled in 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns. During his career, he has caught passes from Jake Heaps, Riley Nelson, James Lark and Taysom Hill.
What’s allowed Hoffman to be in position to break these hallowed records?
“Longevity,” said offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who has been around great BYU receivers in his career as both a player and a coach. “You’ve got to start out coming out of the blocks as a freshman and get in a rotating mix and continuing to be dependable throughout four years. It’s a credit to Cody that he’s at the stage right now. To Cody’s credit, it doesn’t matter the quarterback or the scheme, he’s been there. He’s been a proven commodity for years. I’m very excited that he’s back and in full swing.”
A hamstring injury caused Hoffman to be sidelined for BYU's season-opening loss at Virginia and it slowed him down through the first few weeks of the season. Hoffman has worked hard to regain his health.
“He’s back in shape and it’s a joy to watch him,” Holliday said. “He’s back in a groove and ready to go. Cody’s a little bit laid back. Some people confuse that with a lack of work ethic. That’s not true. Cody Hoffman is probably one of the most competitive people I’ve been around. Cody’s tough as nails.”
Holliday said Hoffman possesses natural gifts as a receiver.
“What makes him as good as he is his body control,” he said. “His ability to separate (from defenders) by height and overall athletic ability and adjust to the ball is special.”
Hoffman has caught 18 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown this season. He has caught a pass in 36 consecutive games.
As for the records he’s on the brink of breaking this weekend, Hoffman isn’t concerned about where it happens.
“I’ll take them when I can, whether it’s on the road or at home, it’s still breaking the record,” he said.
“We have a lot of plays for Cody,” Hill said. “He’s going to break that easily. I’m happy to be here with him to see that happen.”
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