Vance, now a physical education teacher and coach in Crescent City, called Mendenhall a few years ago when Hoffman was dominating competition in several sports at tiny Del Norte High, 30 or so miles from the California-Oregon border, and suggested BYU take a look at the young man who is now a 6-foot-4, 210-pound starter.
BYU coaches got some film on Hoffman, became just the second four-year school to offer the small-town hero a scholarship (Sacramento State was the other), and the rest is history.
"I have thanked him a lot. I owe him a lot for helping me get out here, and helping me keep my football career going," Hoffman said of Vance.
Saturday's game has been on Hoffman's mind for a long time. He says he made it to one OSU game growing up in the town on the Northern California coast.
"I look forward to every game, but definitely this game," he said. "I obviously made a good decision coming out here. We are doing a lot better than they are, but just having all the fan support there for me, it is going to be a good time."
Don't ask, don't tell
BYU has a former Oregon State player on its roster, but Mendenhall said Wednesday that the coaches aren't pumping linebacker Uani Unga for information about the Beavers. Unga, cousin of former BYU standout running back Harvey Unga, is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Uani Unga's brother, Feti Unga, still plays for Oregon State and is one of the leading tacklers in the Pac-12.
"I haven't talked to him about anything that is going on there, nor do I intend to," Mendenhall said.
BYU at Oregon State
P Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV • KBYU, Fox College Sports Pacific (Comcast: Ch. 264; DirecTV: Ch. 698; Dish: Ch. 409)