1:27 PM ETDavid NewtonESPN Staff Writer CloseCovered Panthers, NFL for 11 years
More than 25 years experience covering NFL, college football and NASCAR
Joined ESPN in 2006Former Stanford multi-sport start Zach Hoffpauir died on Thursday morning. He was 26.Hoffpauir was with his father, Doug, in Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic. His father confirmed the death to the Arizona Republic but did not provide a cause.The news hit Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and his family hard. Hoffpauir and McCaffrey were teammates at Stanford.McCaffrey, 23, on Friday posted a picture of Hoffpauir on Instagram with the message, "Yesterday, Heaven gained an angel, and I lost one of my best friends in the world." McCaffrey's father, former Denver Broncos wide receiver and current first-year Northern Colorado head coach Ed McCaffrey, also was shaken by Hoffpauir's death. He recently hired Hoffpauir as a defensive backs coach."I am devastated by the loss," Ed began his social media post.I am devastated by the loss of Zach Hoffpauir, a friend to me and my family since his playing days with Christian at Stanford. He was like a brother to our boys and recently found his calling as our safeties coach... https://t.co/eNYbQB30fv� Ed McCaffrey (@87ed) May 15, 2020 At Stanford, Hoffpauir played safety in football and was a star baseball player.He left school in 2015 after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 22nd round of the MLB draft. He hit .258 with 3 home runs in 62 at-bats in Class A ball that summer, then returned to Stanford to resume his football career in 2016.Injuries ultimately forced him to retire from playing either sport."He was so excited to get back to Northern Colorado and try to influence lives beyond football," his father told the Arizona Republic. "He loved his head coach, Ed McCaffrey. Christian McCaffrey was his best friend. He had so much to look forward to."