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Colts 2022 Draft Interviews: Brock Hoffman, IOL, Virginia Tech

Meet Virginia Tech IOL Brock Hoffman. We discuss his collegiate career, his play style as a center, and what the future could hold in the NFL.

Brock Hoffman is a former two-star recruit that committed to Coastal Carolina out of Statesville High School in Statesville, North Carolina. He started every game in two seasons for the Chanticleers, and helped lead the team to the 4th-ranked rushing offense in the Sun Belt Conference in 2018.

At the conclusion of the 2018 season, Hoffman looked to transfer a bit closer to home. His mother, Stephanie Hoffman, was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma in 2017 and had to undergo several surgeries to have the tumor removed:

A lot of the decision to transfer to Virginia Tech had to do with my mom's health. She was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma in 2017, so she had around a 17-hour surgery just to get rid of that. So, yes, it was a chance to move up to the power five and play in the ACC, but ultimately, a lot of it had to do with my mother's health condition.

Hoffman did apply for an immediate eligibility waiver to play upon transferring, but it was ultimately denied by the NCAA. He did attempt to file multiple appeals, but the NCAA continually denied his request to play.

As a result, Hoffman was forced to redshirt, per the transfer eligibility rules of the time, and watch his new teammates play in the 2019 season without him. I asked Hoffman about this situation:

It was certainly a tough experience. At Coastal, I started every game for two years there. It really was my first time not playing football. Honestly, as I look back on it, I'm very thankful for it now.

It gave me time to work on myself both on and off the field, take the nutrition side of it more seriously, continue to grow in a new weight program, and help my teammates by going against the starters every day in practice to give them the best look possible. I think, overall, going against that competition every day made me a better player. 

By the time 2020 rolled around, Hoffman was ready to go. He finished that season as a First Team All-ACC selection (Eric Mac Lain) and helped lead the Hokies to over 240 yards rushing per game as the team's starting center.

He followed that up with a strong 2021 season as well, starting 11 games for the team. His ability to jump in immediately following his redshirt season and play at a high level was simply remarkable.

I asked him about the adjustment process in going from the Sun Belt to the ACC and how he was able to find success with such a great unit at Virginia Tech:

Playing on this offensive line, especially last year when we had CD (Minnesota Vikings' 2021 first round pick Christian Darrisaw), it was honestly a great time. We knew going into the games that teams were going to try and mix things up and attack us because we were so effective running the ball.

Coach (Vance) Vice told me this group had a lot of talent, when he was recruiting me, and he said that they just need a leader. Honestly, I just came in and showed everybody what kind of player I am, how I worked, and I ultimately ended up becoming that vocal leader for that group. It was a smooth transition, and a really fun time playing with those guys.

Growing Into a Leadership Role

Hoffman's ability to gain his teammates' trust early is something to take note of. He transferred from another school, so he wasn't recruited with many of these guys, yet was still revered enough to be named Captain on the offensive line.

I asked Hoffman about how he was able to quickly come in and become the vocal leader that the team needed:

When you transfer into a school, you can't try to come in right away and be this vocal leader on day one. Guys won't respond to that, you have to show them that you are going to work day in and day out. That is basically what I did.

When I had to sit out, I was still a leader for these guys once I grew into that role about midway through the 2019 season. Throughout summer and fall camp, I tried to bust my tail every day and show these guys what kind of player I am. I was trying to build that trust up. Once you build that trust, you can step into that role and they will believe in you.

For me, it is just a process that takes time, but once you show a group of guys that you are willing to work with them, that should happen pretty quick.

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Nasty Play Style

Hoffman is an outstanding finisher on film that looks to put a defender on the ground on every play. While he also boasts good athleticism and leverage, this ability to finish is what is really catching the eye of many talent evaluators.

I asked Hoffman if this mindset has always been a part of his game or if he developed this sometime along the way:

I was very fortunate to be the son of a football coach that had coached in college. Honestly, he has been in my ear my whole life. When you are gonna play, you gotta play the game nasty.

For me, that started happening in my sophomore/junior year of high school and that mindset has really stuck with me the whole way. Obviously, once I got to college, that just got amped up even more. Everybody is going to try and play nasty at this level.

When I got to VT, I wanted to instill this style of play and take it to another level. What is cool is that you can take it to another level when you have four other guys who are willing to be like that right beside you.

Communication as a Center

One of the more underrated aspects of playing center, at any level, is communication. Not only does a center have to communicate with his other linemen, but he also has to communicate with the quarterback in order for an offense to find success.

I asked Hoffman about his role in blitz-calls and other vital points of communication across the offensive line:

Me and the quarterbacks at VT always had a great relationship, especially with Braxton (Burmeister) because we were roommates. Whatever direction they were trying to put the slide to, I would handle the MIKE calls. If I had any kind of read that made me feel like it was coming the other way, I had the option to flip the call and the quarterback would confirm that with me.

I think, especially in that center spot, you have to be able to communicate and you have to be able to see the bigger picture even though you are on the interior. A lot of that comes through film.

I watch a ton of film throughout the week. As we get closer to the game, I watch a lot of third down blitz cut-ups just to make I know what will be coming. You go over those scenarios because, even though you want to stay out of third and long, you will get into third and long at some point in the game.

Film study is important to find out what their go-to blitz is and whether that certain blitz will apply to you in the game. I've had a lot of good people on staff work with me, and when I went to the OL Masterminds Clinic, a lot of those vets taught me how to watch film. I feel like all of these things are essential parts of my game.

What He Brings to a NFL Team

Finally, I talked to Hoffman about what he could bring to a NFL team. This is my favorite question to ask young players, as I get to see how they would sell themselves as a player and person to their future employers:

Off the field, you are getting a good person. A person that cares about the community that they live in and the people that he is around.

On the field, you are going to get a person that comes in daily to work hard. A person that is going to try and build the trust of the team, a person that is going to push people to be the best, and a person that is going to learn from any veteran he can so he can make it in the league.

I don't know if the Colts will have any interest in adding another interior offensive lineman in the draft, but consider me a huge fan of his game and play style. Hopefully, if the Colts do go this route, they take a long look at Brock Hoffman.

Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.

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