HELENA — Carroll’s First-team All-Conference offensive tackle Alex Hoffman has signed an undrafted free agent deal with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. He will receive a $1,000 signing bonus, according to multiple sources on Twitter.
“Just really appreciate all the work that [Carroll's] coaching staff has done for me,” Hoffman said. “Without them, the coaching staff and the players, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. I’m really grateful for them.”
Hoffman, who was a team captain for the Saints during his senior season, helped lead Carroll to its first Frontier Conference Championship and first appearance in the NAIA Football Championship Series since 2014.
“He’s the most athletic lineman and intellectual lineman I’ve ever been around,” Saints head coach Troy Purcell said. “He’s got all the traits and he’s the hardest worker out there...His ability to change direction and do the things he does with his feet -- he’s a special player. That’s why he gets this opportunity to get to that next level and prove himself. It’s pretty special.”
Hoffman helped clear a path for All-Conference running back Matthew Burgess to rack up 671 yards and four touchdowns in just five games during the 2021 spring season. As a team, Carroll posted the Frontier’s second-best rushing offense, averaging 194 yards per game, a number that also ranks inside the top-20 in the NAIA.
Hoffman was a quarterback earlier in his football career, but since made the move to tight end, and eventually blossomed into a mainstay on Carroll’s offensive line at his right tackle position. Hoffman was a three-year starter for the Saints and a two-time First-Team All-Conference pick, he was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2019.
“From a quarterback in high school coming in here, an ole lefty, and moving to tight end and finding his home as an offensive lineman and doing everything right,” Purcell said. “If you told him to gain weight, he gained weight, told him to get stronger, he got stronger. What a tremendous leader, and [has] a ‘get better everyday mentality’ and he bought into it. The example of how he played on the field and his attitude and his energy really helped transform this team.”
Purcell said Hoffman’s NFL prospects first picked up about two years ago and have steadily gained steam ever since. Over the last couple weeks, Saints offensive coordinator Alex Pfannenstiel and offensive line coach Ryan Springer, as well as some of Hoffman’s teammates, have been stringing together highlight clips in an effort to get him noticed and achieve this goal of Hoffman signing with an NFL team.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the coaches at Carroll and my teammates to help get film set out and some workouts and measurements done,” Hoffman said. “It’s just so great to have the support of so many of people from the Carroll football coaching staff and team.”
The final installment of Marching On this offseason features Carroll football great, Casey FitzSimmons, who dominated in Helena before making the NFL.