Hoffpauir joining USM

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 13, 1999

Corky Palmer recruited Josh Hoffpauir hard when the former Vidalia Viking All-Stater helped lead the Vikings to the state championship in 1996.

Hoffpauir was going to join Palmer before Northwestern State University offered him a scholarship.

“I wanted to play for a bigger school,” Hoffpauir said.

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After three seasons at Northwestern State, Hoffpauir is joining Palmer at Southern Mississippi, making the move to the Hattiesburg school this fall.

“I really enjoyed my three years at Northwestern, but I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to play at Southern Miss,” Hoffpauir said. “I thought it was time to make a change. I’m just excited that Coach Palmer is giving me another chance.”

Because Northwestern released Hoffpauir, he will be eligible to play this year at USM as a senior.

Besides Palmer, Hoffpauir will be joining former NSU assistant coach Lane Burris, who is an assistant at Southern Miss now.

Burris recruited Hoffpauir for Northwestern when he was a senior at Vidalia.

Hoffpauir hit .268 last year during an injury-plagued season, but still earned second team All-Southland Conference honors.

During his sophomore season in 1998, Hoffpauir moved from third base to second base and hit .311.

Hoffpauir was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year after his freshman season in 1997.

Hoffpauir played in the outfield and infield as a freshman and played infield as a sophomore.

Northwestern State head coach Dave Van Horn left NSU for Nebraska after Hoffpauir’s sophomore season and John Cohen was brought in as a coach.

Hoffpauir played several positions last year, playing most of the season with assorted injuries.

“Coach Cohen coming in last year was not a factor in my transferring,” Hoffpauir said. “I’m just sorry I didn’t get a chance to prove myself to the new coach. But I’m fired up and ready to go at USM.”