Brock Hoffman began his collegiate career at Coastal Carolina where he started 12 games at right guard. Trying to move closer to his mother that was dealing with serious health issues, he was denied immediate eligibility when transferring to Virginia Tech for the 2019 season.
Hoffman took out his frustration on the entire ACC conference in the two seasons that followed. Virginia Tech led the conference in rushing yards per game with him starting every game at center in 2020. He was also named All-ACC honorable mention.
In 2021, he continued to improve his draft stock after another All-ACC worthy season where he was also named a Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Semifinalist. Hoffman’s tape showcases a player that plays with power and physicality with a unique blend of athleticism to get out in space.
bell: You started your career at Coastal Carolina before transferring to Virginia Tech, what led to your decision there?
Hoffman: I went to Coastal Carolina for two years, starting both seasons there. I enjoyed my time there but going to Virginia Tech was the best of both worlds. My mom had some health issues so going to Virginia Tech was closer to home for me. The football tradition at Virginia Tech was something I couldn’t pass up.
bell: In 2020, your offense at Virginia Tech had a ton of NFL talent including Christian Darrisaw and Khalil Herbert. The run game was particularly impressive. What was that experience like?
Hoffman: Last year was special for us offensively. Dealing with all the COVID stuff, not knowing if we’re even going to have a season and finally getting to camp to get ready for the season. We knew we were going to be good up front. It was week two in fall camp and I could tell that Khalil was different, there was just something different about him. I’ve always been close with CD, our relationship is just awesome. Khalil was just so good at seeing the hole and quickly getting north and south, it was a fun experience.
bell: I know when I watch your tape, I see a guy that works extremely well in a phone booth but can also get out in space. What do you want scouts to see whenever they pop on your film?
Hoffman: I want them to see that I’m a smart football player that can identify things in the pre-snap process. That I play physical, nasty and bring an edge to the game. I want teams to see that I’m adaptable to whatever scheme they want to run, whether it’s zone scheme or power scheme. I want to be able to fit multiple systems and be fluid in that aspect.
bell: I know you mentioned wanting to be versatile but do you feel like you’re a better fit right now for a power or zone blocking scheme?
Hoffman: I would say right now, I’m best suited in a power scheme but I want to be able to show at the shrine bowl and through the process that I am athletic and versatile enough to fit into a zone scheme, as well. That’ll allow a lot more teams to be interested in me.
bell: I know that you’ve worked a lot at center over the course of your career but do you feel comfortable if tasked sliding over to guard, as well?
Hoffman: In my opinion, I feel like I’m in that mold of interior offensive line, I feel comfortable at both left and right guard and obviously at center.
bell: From what I could tell, it looked like you made a lot of the calls up front along the offensive line. Was that something that was assigned to you or is that something that just came naturally?
Hoffman: For me, my dad was a football coach and I’ve been in football my entire life. Having him as a former college football coach has allowed me to become a really smart football player over the years. Before 2020, our run game wasn’t great and they felt like up front, we were on different pages. Just little communication errors and I took it upon myself to learn the playbook inside and out. Identifying the mike and everyone being on the same page, I felt like that was a huge part of our success.
bell: Playing in the ACC for a couple years, you all faced a lot of quality fronts like Pittsburgh for example. Was there a specific player, front or scheme that you thought was difficult to match up against?
Hoffman: Preparing for PITT was difficult, whenever you get in third and long, they decide to bring a lot of different blitzes. I would say over the past two years, they were the most difficult to prepare for. In terms of players that I played against, first game of 2020 was against Alim McNeill from NC State and then when I was at Coastal, I played against Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw was different for sure.
bell: Is there a center in the NFL, either past or present that you try to model your game after?
Hoffman: A couple years ago, my favorite center to watch was Maurkice Pouncey. I would say right now is Ryan Jensen. I like to model my game after him, just how aggressive he plays and the way that he likes to get into defenders heads. He’s been playing at a really high level the last few years on TV and to study his film.
bell: What about Maurkice Pouncey’s game was so impressive and what did you try to take from his playstyle?
Hoffman: For him, the thing that I liked most was just his quickness. Whether it was just getting out in the open field or just getting out of his stance. That was one of the things that I first remember noticing was how quick he got off the ball, he snaps it and he’s out of his stance. He plays aggressive, too.
bell: I know that there’s a lot of work to be done between now and April. What are your training plans moving forward? What are some of the things that you’re looking to fine tune prior to Draft Day?
Hoffman: Right now, I’m in Atlanta, Georgia training with Chip Smith performance. My two position coaches are Jon Stinchcomb and Bob Whitfield. Right now with Chip, just working on staying strong. What I’ve been doing with Jon and Bob over the past month is really breaking my game down, getting back to the fundamentals.
The number one thing is improving on my overall athleticism and quickness out of my stance which will help myself in the outside zone game. That’s really my goal for the shrine bowl is to show that I can do that. I feel like I’ve shown that I’m a really powerful player and that I’m pretty good in the pass game. I want to show teams that I’m consistent and can get to the second and third level for blocks.
bell: You were invited to the east/west shrine game, what are you looking forward to most about that week of practice leading up the game?
Hoffman: Outside of football, being around those kids at the Shriners children hospital as that will be a really special moment. In terms of football, just getting in front of NFL personnel and showing them the type of player I am and how I can be a good fit for them.
bell: The Steelers will undoubtedly be represented in Vegas and I’m sure you’ll get some exposure to them. What are your thoughts on Mike Tomlin and the Steelers?
Hoffman: Obviously a pretty legendary coach. I think I saw a tweet about him saying that he has never had a losing season which is wild. He seems like a really cool coach and obviously everyone in Pittsburgh loves to play for him. He has that whole cities support.
bell: The Steelers have had some legendary centers. Not just Maurkice Pouncey who you grew up watching, they’ve also had Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson, both Hall of Famers. What would it mean to get the chance to play for a team with a lineage of great centers over the years?
Hoffman: Going to a place like Pittsburgh would honestly be an incredible experience. An organization that’s well known for winning, producing a lot of really good players especially up front. That would mean a lot to me and it would be a really cool experience.
Make sure you bookmark All Steelers for the latest news, exclusive interviews, film breakdowns and so much more!
Steelers Showing Early Interest in Liberty QB Malik Willis
Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis Highlight Opening Auditions at Senior Bowl
Carson Strong Ready to Start If Drafted by Steelers
JuJu Smith-Schuster Says Bye to Pittsburgh
Kenny Pickett Hopes to Land With Steelers in NFL Draft
Steelers Mobile QB Options This Offseason
5 Things on Steelers Watchlist During Senior Bowl Week