Statesville native Brock Hoffman is an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Hoffman.)

BY JABRIA WILLIAMS

Statesville native Brock Hoffman spent nearly a decade chasing his dream of playing in the National Football League.

After suiting up for 20 NFL games, it’s safe to say he’s made it.

From his early days at Statesville High School to his current position as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, Hoffman’s journey has been one of relentless hard work and unwavering determination.

Hoffman is listed as the starting center on the Cowboys’ depth chart entering the 2024 season.

“For me, growing up, I just wanted to play big-time football — and it took 10 years’ worth of work,” Hoffman, now 25, said, reflecting on his journey.

His path took him from Statesville to Coastal Carolina, where he was the first true freshman to start at center, to Virginia Tech, where he was a two-time All-ACC Honorable Mention performer. After going undrafted, he signed with the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad before finally landing with the Cowboys, who rewarded him with a two-year contract.

As a high school student, Hoffman idolized Ray Lewis, a Hall of Fame linebacker, and was a fervent Baltimore Ravens fan. While he plays a totally different position, Hoffman has tried to adopt the intensity and toughness that Lewis for which Lewis is widely revered.

“The way he played the game is the way you have to,” Hoffman explained.

His college career began at Coastal Carolina, which he initially viewed as a setback because he had aspired to play for a Power Five school. Although he was successful on the field and in the classroom,

Hoffman felt a strong desire to be closer to home, where his mom Stephanie, who worked as a teacher at Statesville High, was battling serious health problems.

Hoffman transferred to Virginia Tech, but faced a setback when he was deemed ineligible to play for a year due to NCAA regulations. After sitting out a year, he made the most of his remaining time in Blacksburg, feeling that he was setting himself up for the 2022 NFL Draft.

The pre-draft process, he said, was an emotional rollercoaster.

“You get invited to the Shrine Bowl but not the Combine. You get interviewed by some teams but not others. It’s like, are you going to get drafted or are you not?” Hoffman said.

After all of the work he had put in, Hoffman dreaded the possibility of not being drafted and recalled that time period as a low point that left him questioning, “How much more can I give?”

He was not drafted. After signing as a free agent, he earned a spot on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad.

But it wasn’t until his move to the Dallas Cowboys that the 6-foot-4, 302-pounder felt he turned a string of disappointments into a triumphant win.

“I was ready to be a Dallas Cowboy, for sure,” he said.

Pictured (from left) are Brock’s sister Hannah, mom Stephanie, Brock, dad Brian, and sister Logan.

Life as an NFL player is rigorous. During the season, Hoffman’s weekly schedule is packed, with games on Sunday, weightlifting and film sessions on Monday, off-day workouts on Tuesday, and long practice hours on Wednesday through Friday. Saturdays are for preparation, either at home or traveling for road games. His game-day routine includes hot tub sessions, meetings and final walk-thrus.

“After the first play, the nerves go away and you start playing football,” he said.

Hoffman’s father Brian, a former football coach, remains deeply involved in his career.

“He’s someone to talk to about my feelings towards my career or what I see on film and what to do next,” the younger Hoffman said.

Despite his busy schedule, he also makes it a point to check in with his mother and sisters Hannah and Logan, emphasizing the importance of family.

“Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are really busy, so on my Mondays and Tuesdays I focus on getting my body right after a game but also getting my head space right and checking on the people that I love … if I do that, by the time it’s Sunday, I’m good and ready to play!”

Hoffman’s contract for the 2024-2025 season with the Cowboys isn’t guaranteed, but he feels optimistic about his future with “America’s Team.”

“I’m in a really good position to make the team and hopefully become a starter,” he said.
In the offseason, Hoffman’s days are filled with training and boxing sessions. As he prepares for the Cowboys’ training camp, which starts July 22, and the upcoming season, Hoffman is eager to get back on the field.

“I’m just excited to get back and play,” he said.

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