Injuries this past year derailed Jason Hoffman’s recruitment process for college wrestling, but the Hadley-Luzerne senior plans to continue his career at Division I Drexel University next year.
Hoffman, a four-time state place finisher while wrestling for Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George, decided on Drexel after a visit with the coaching staff at the Philadelphia campus.
“The atmosphere is awesome, the coaches are great, they’re on the rise and they’re very supportive of academics,” said Hoffman, who plans to major in mechanical engineering. “They made it very easy to decide (to go there).”
“I’m really excited for him — it’s been a dream of his to wrestle at the Division I level since he was a little boy, and now he has an opportunity to do that in the next four years,” WarEagles coach Larry Rounds said.
Hoffman is currently recovering from a second knee operation to repair a tear in his meniscus, which he re-injured during the State Wrestling Championships at the end of February in Albany. He said his prognosis is good, but he would not be cleared to wrestle until September.
“It’s a six-month recovery, and the last time I came back in 2 1/2 months because I wanted to wrestle at states,” said Hoffman, who was a state runner-up for the second time in his career. “I tore it during my first match (at states). We taped it up, I wore my knee brace and I just gutted it out.”
“It’s not how anyone would have drawn it up, but … to end your career on the big stage, wrestling in the state finals, is quite an accomplishment,” Rounds said. “He wanted to win one more match, but it just as easily could have not happened.”
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Known for his remarkable blend of power and technique, Hoffman finished his six-year varsity career with 185 victories. In the last four seasons, he placed fourth, second, third and second again at states. He wrestled at 170 pounds this past season.
Hoffman had suffered a broken leg during an offseason workout last year, then had his meniscus repaired last fall, forcing him to start his senior wrestling season late. That hurt the recruiting process for the Division I prospect, who was also accepted at George Mason University.
“Because of my injuries, it was so late in the process” that he was not able to get an athletic scholarship to Drexel, Hoffman said. However, he was able to receive a substantial amount towards tuition — “half to almost three-quarters covered,” he said — for his academics, and could work toward an athletic scholarship.
Hoffman said he was “not completely sure” if he would wrestle this winter as a freshman or if he would be redshirted — not competing but retaining a year of eligibility.
The transition from rural upstate New York to the big city will be significant, but Hoffman said he’s ready for it.
“I was skeptical about going into a city, because I’m not from a city, but I found out that I love the atmosphere,” he said. “I feel ready, I can’t wait.”