NCAA FB

Young cancer patient scores TD

Jack Hoffman, 7, scored a TD during a Nebraska spring game. (Twitter via @BenCotton81)
Share This Story

   
 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)

Jack Hoffman just might go down as the biggest star of the Nebraska spring game.

And he's only 7 years old.

Hoffman, of Atkinson, Neb., has won the hearts of fans and everyone in the football program for his courageous bout with brain cancer. Star running back Rex Burkhead befriended Jack last year and is the captain of the support network known as ''Team Jack.''

Wearing a miniature Burkhead uniform complete with a No. 22 jersey, Jack ran onto the field late in Saturday's scrimmage.

On a fourth-and-1 play, he took a handoff from Taylor Martinez. Jack started running left, but Martinez redirected him. The little guy turned on a dime and followed a wall of blockers down the field.

Sixty-nine yards later, Hoffman reached the end zone, setting off this emotional scene with players from the Red and White squads

The crowd of 60,174 at Memorial Stadium cheered as Jack celebrated — a moment that left Jack's father, Andy, misty-eyed on the sideline.

Asked what he was thinking when he ran onto the field, Jack said, ''Scoring a touchdown.''

Spring football action

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

It's spring football time, a great chance to prepare for the fall. See the best action here

And when he broke free and scored? ''It felt awesome.'' And the crowd reaction? ''Really awesome.''

Receivers coach Rich Fisher motioned Jack over on the sideline to show him the play he drew up. Andy said that's when it hit him that his son really would get his day in the sun at Memorial Stadium.

''It was a lot of emotions right at once,'' Andy said. ''Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause.''

Football operations director Jeff Jamrog and fullback C.J. Zimmerer came up with the idea to get Jack involved in the spring game. Jamrog called the Hoffmans on Friday to tell them the Huskers had a special play planned for Jack.

“We drew up the play probably 30 seconds before so I’m sure it was all a blur for him,” Zimmerer told Omaha.com. “I was telling some of the other reporters that he did a great job. We wanted to get him around the edge, giving him a nice lane to the end zone. He did a great job running his little legs there. He’s fast for a little guy. He did a great job for the pressure of 60,000 fans. I’m sure it was not very easy for a 7-year-old.”

The good will didn’t stop with the play. The stats for the game show the leading rusher as Jack Hoffman, with one carry for 69 yards and a TD.

DADDY TIME

NASCAR is all about family. Check out these Sprint Cup drivers with their kids at the track.

“I like the way Jack ran the ball right there,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck said. “It was very touching. It puts it all in perspective what the game is all about. It is a game. That’s why they call it a game. It’s great for our players to see that there is something bigger than this, and the fans to be able to see it.”

Jack was diagnosed with cancer in April 2011 and has had two surgeries. He's now on a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy regimen.

Andy said Jack is ''doing great'' and that an MRI at Children's Hospital in Boston showed that the tumor has shrunk substantially in the past year.

''We're very optimistic for Jack,'' Andy said.

Burkhead, who is preparing for the NFL draft, said he got as much joy out of Jack's touchdown as he did for any of the ones he scored for the Huskers.

''Jack is a fighter, a strong kid,'' Burkhead said. ''To see him run around and enjoy the Husker experience, it's a dream come true, especially for kids in the state of Nebraska. For Jack to get down here and do it, I know it made his day.''

Some other members of Husker Nation showed their love for Jack, as well:

 

 

 

Tagged: Nebraska, Rex Burkhead, Jared Crick

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Mark Emmert against unionization Posted: Apr 06, 2014
NCAA president Mark Emmert comments on unionization for student-athletes.

Northwestern athletes win unionization case Posted: Mar 26, 2014
FOX Football debates the implications of student-athletes being able to unionize...

Saban lectures media on Kouandjio's injury Posted: Mar 12, 2014
Nick Saban has some words for the media after the way Cyrus Kouandjio's knee inj...

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash