Jeff Koterba cartoon for April 9, 2013"Jack Hoffman Huskers"
Published Saturday, April 6, 2013 AT 6:48 PM / Updated at 2:54 PM
Jack Hoffman, 7, stars at NU spring game
Big Red Today Omaha World-Herald

Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old cancer patient, was undoubtedly the star of Saturday’s Nebraska spring game. The Husker fan and friend of the football team led the Huskers in rushing yards on the day.

“Obviously, Jack’s a young man who has touched the hearts of a lot of people,” coach Bo Pelini said. “Our football team and the student body have gotten behind him, and he’s become a big part of the team. We weren’t sure if he was going to want to do it. We brought the idea to his dad, and I thought it was a pretty special thing.”

Hoffman scored on a 69-yard run for the Red team.

Taylor Martinez and Joe Ganz drew up a play with him on the sideline.

“That was awesome for the team and for Jack,” Martinez said. “He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life and so will I. It was awesome for him to score that touchdown.”

The play call was spontaneous according to senior fullback C.J. Zimmerer, but the Red team put some serious thought into giving Hoffman a clear path to the end zone and letting him run.

“We drew up the play probably 30 seconds before so I’m sure it was all a blur for him,” Zimmerer said. “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.”

Hoffman formed a bond with former Husker running back Rex Burkhead when the two met after Jack was diagnosed. He wore a No. 22 football jersey — Burkhead’s number — on the field.

Hoffman’s run gathered a large reaction on social media. Check out some of the top comments below:


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