Ex-Centennial athlete Zach Hoffpauir re-starts football career at Stanford – azcentral.com
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Former Peoria Centennial safety Zach Hoffpauir was back on the football field at Stanford on Saturday, after briefly flirting with a pro baseball career with the Diamondbacks.
“I’m technically retired, but the Diamondbacks own my rights,” he told reporters in California after his first spring practice. “If I do want to come back, I’ll come back to the Diamondbacks.”
For now, Hoffpauir says he wants to finish what he started. This will be his last football season at Stanford, where he was All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a junior in 2014.
A two-sport star at Stanford, the 6-foot, 195-pound Hoffpauir, an outfielder, was chosen in the 22nd round by the Diamondbacks in 2015.
He hit .258 with three home runs and seven RBIs in 62 at-bats between rookie and short-A ball last summer.
“It had nothing to do with baseball,” Hoffpauir said about his return to Stanford, where he hopes to graduate by winter of next year. “I loved playing in the minor leagues. It’s a great organization. It was just me. I wanted to go back and finish what I started. I’m looking to play well, have a good season and go from there.”
After his first football practice, Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters that Hoffpauir, “looks like a baseball player coming back to football.”
“You can see it and it’s there,” Shaw said. “He’s so smart. It’s just getting his body back. It’s all making sense to him. … He’s going to help us. I’m excited for Zach. He’s excited to be back. We’ve welcomed him back with open arms. He’s going to help us.”
Shaw said he figures Hoffpauir to be ready by training camp. He will play safety and on special teams.
“I felt for the most part I did a lot of good things,” Hoffpauir said of his first spring practice. “I was feeling the job faster.”
Hoffpauir was able to make a play on a ball after a previous pass play had gotten over his head.
“It was fun to make a play,” he said. “That was after I messed up on a slant. That’s what I learned in pro ball. You have to shake it off.”
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