It was his first Big Ten offer, Michigan State.
AJ Hoffler’s recruitment didn’t get started until his first offer from Kansas State in December.
“So far, it’s more than I thought I’d have. I guess I’m surprised. I know I’m going to get a few more,” Michigan State 2023 target, Hoffler said.
Right now, he’s also in contact with Notre Dame and South Carolina. Hoffler went from no offers, to receiving recognition from a No. 5 ranked school like Notre Dame. It’s because of his improvement.
“If you asked me last year, I wouldn’t think I would have any by now. Covid helped a lot, because I had time lifting a bunch and training. I doubt I would’ve had as much success as I’ve had because all I did was workout,” Hoffler said.
He put in the time to grind. Through his extra lifting, he gained 60-pounds. Yes, you read that right.
Hoffler had some help along the way too, from his older brother Ozzie, who’s also a defensive end.
“Training with my brother who’s going to Kansas State this year. I think it helped a lot because he has 30 offers, so he’s helped me out a lot in knowing what to do. I’m a little bit taller than him but yeah, we play the same position,” Hoffler said.
Regardless of Hoffler’s size, being over 6-0 and gaining an extra 60-pounds, he can move.
“Coaches ask me all the time, because I’ve gained 20 pounds from the end of the season, they want to see that I can still move. I know I can do everything else,” Hoffler said.
That’s 40-pounds before the season, and 20 after. That extra weight hasn’t stopped him from being quick on the field.
“I think that’s what separates me because whenever I’m in practice with my coaches, the O-line coach, they always say they hate going against me because I’m so fast,” Hoffler said.
What sets Hoffler apart though isn’t just his speed.
“What sets me apart is I don’t look at myself as just an athlete. I started playing football in 7th grade, so I haven’t played football my whole life. You can ask my friends and stuff, I’m funny, I think I’m a nice guy, I’m a good student. I think just not being a typical football player. Some people go ‘Hollywood’ when you get certain offers. Not getting classified as that, that’s what I’d say I’m like,” Hoffler said.
I would say Hoffler isn’t boasting enough. He’s a keep to himself type of guy. Not a bad thing! During our call, I could tell how appreciative he is of these offers, and it wasn’t because he was bragging; he was bashful.
There are times though where he’s vocal with his excitement. Like being invited to the Under Armour All-America Camp Series.
“Getting invited, I was screaming and jumping up and down when the guy texted me that, I told all my friends,” Hoffler said.
How could he not? His hard work is starting to show.
“I get to compete and be around the best players in the country, and I’m looked at as one of the better players in the country. I want to show them that I’m more athletic than people think, and better than people think,” Hoffler said.
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