Erik Hoffstadt, a senior at Caesar Rodney High School, will be taking his lacrosse services to the United States Naval Academy following graduation in June. A four-year starter and three-time MVP at CR, Hoffstadt will join one of the nation's top lacrosse programs in Navy.
It’s not often a student-athlete from this area goes on to play for a top tier college program in their respective sport, but Caesar Rodney High School’s Erik Hoffstadt will be doing just that.
A senior lacrosse player at CR, Hoffstadt’s story is made even more interesting in that he’s not taking a scholarship or signing a letter of intent to join one of the NCAA’s elite colleges.
Instead, the 18-year-old Dover resident opted for an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, where he’ll spend four years getting an education and playing lacrosse and an additional five in service to his country.
After being recruited by several top-flight colleges, Hoffstadt said Navy just seemed like the right fit, especially for reasons that stretched beyond the lacrosse field.
“I felt like after graduating from the Naval Academy that it would put me in a better position than any other school,” he said. “I’m definitely looking to the future, not just the next four years.”
Hoffstadt has accrued 220 points through the first three years of his high school career, not to mention several all-conference and all-state honors. But his mother, Cindy, said the road to this point wasn’t easy all the way.
Beginning his career in the fifth grade, Erik started with the Camden-Wyoming Lacrosse Club and Cindy said if it wasn’t for some remorse on her son’s part he might not have stuck with it.
“He said he hated it his first year,” she said. “But he went back because he felt bad about all the money we spent on his equipment.”
The guilt that pushed Erik to stick with the game worked out, as he went on to become a four-year starter at Caesar Rodney, twice winning the team MVP award outright in 2007 and 2009, and sharing it with a teammate in 2008.
But the numbers, Riders Head Coach Drew Hughes said, don’t say everything about Erik and what he’s brought to CR.
For instance, Hughes said, following the March 27 loss to Charter, his senior co-captain went home and practiced shooting for two and a half hours, this after playing a full game.
Erik’s also been instrumental, the coach said, in helping keep the attack on the team strong despite losing players each year, as this year he’s sharing the field with two sophomores.
“Every day he pulls them aside and talks them through things,” Hughes said. “Every offensive player has learned from him.”
The Rider coach added that it’s those intangible qualities that make Erik a perfect fit for the Navy.
“He’s a natural leader and he has an alpha male personality,” Hughes said. “It’s going to be very tough for him, and not just in lacrosse. But I think he’s got the right personality to succeed there.”
Erik plans to study engineering in the Navy, and between school work, lacrosse and his military obligations, he’s set to have a full plate.
Academically, Cindy said she’s not concerned about her son’s ability to multitask, as he’s currently ranked fourth in his class at CR and has a 97.78 GPA with a course load that includes several AP classes.
Additionally, he is involved with the Blue/Gold Club, Special Olympics and is now a senior ambassador for the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities.
“He’s going to have to be really good at managing his time,” Cindy said. “He’s always been able to do it all though. He’s always had the athletic ability but also gets good grades. It’s really hard to get into the Navy, so we’re really proud.
“Also, he’s very competitive by nature so it’ll be an environment where he’ll thrive.”
As far as lacrosse goes, Erik hopes to step right in and produce for Navy, and with his extensive club lacrosse experience he thinks he can just that.
Twice he has been selected as an Adidas All-American, and played for the No. 8 club team in the country, Baltimore Elite Lacrosse Club, where he said he gained invaluable knowledge.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot more competitive than high school,” Erik said. “But playing for BELAX, those kids were nationally ranked, the best kids in the country. Just playing with them, it makes you raise your level of play.”
Erik still has the rest of his senior year, not to mention his senior lacrosse season, ahead of him before he leaves his mom and dad, Steve, and sisters Jennifer and Megan to head to the Navy July 1.
He’s hoping to help the Riders go deeper than they ever have in the playoffs in his final year, and feels having his post-high school decision behind him is a load off his mind.
“I know where I’ve been going for a while now, and seeing my classmates go through the stress of deciding, it’s just nice to know I can sit back and relax for now,” he said.
WHO Caesar Rodney High School (1-1, 1-0) at Sussex Central High School (0-1, 0-1)
WHEN 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 31
WHERE 26026 Patriots Way, Georgetown
BY THE NUMBERS
97.78 GPA through high school
4 class rank through junior year
2 Adidas All-American selections
3 times first-team all-conference selection
2 times all-state attack, third team in 2008, second team in 2009
220 career points through junior year for CR
Email Brian Citino at email@example.com