FOXBORO, Mass. — As the 2017 NFL Draft approached, all twin brothers Jacob and Cody Hollister wanted was a shot to make an NFL roster. They never expected it to come from the same team.
The New England Patriots signed both Jacob, a former quarterback-turned-tight end from the University of Wyoming, and Cody, a wide receiver from Arkansas, as undrafted free agents shortly after the draft concluded last month.
While not the only set of twins currently active in the NFL — the others include Devin and Jason McCourty and Mike and Maurkice Pouncey — the Hollister duo is the only one that shares a locker room.
Speaking with New England reporters for the first time Tuesday, the brothers explained how their unlikely NFL reunion came to be.
“Honestly, we had no idea,” Cody Hollister said. “Even I knew I was going to the Patriots earlier than he did. We kind of celebrated, and then like 10, 15 minutes later, he’s coming to the Patriots. So God’s hand was all over it, but we honestly had no idea. Zero idea.”
“We had different teams looking at us both, but the Patriots were the ones that were really interested in both of us,” Jacob added. “That wasn’t really what made the decision for us, but it worked out great.”
Ever since the twins arrived in Foxboro, it’s been, as Jacob put it, “back to old times.” They’re wearing the same uniform for the first time since 2013, when they were teammates at Arizona Western Junior College before splitting off to their respective Division I schools. And they’re even sharing a room again, just as they did as kids in Bend, Oregon. All that’s missing are the bunk beds.
“It’s been awesome,” Cody said. “Being in the playbook, we contest each other. We line up in the living room and run routes together. We walk through routes and formations. So literally, we’re in our room studying all the time. If you go in there, there’s not much TV going on. We’re just sitting there studying, quizzing each other, flash cards and different things.”
Both Hollisters are listed at 6-foot-4, with Jacob weighing in at 239 pounds to Cody’s 209. Neither brother is guaranteed a place on the Patriots’ final 53-man roster, though Jacob has a better chance of earning one. He signed a contract that included a reported $90,000 in guaranteed money and will compete with James O’Shaugnessy, Matt Lengel and Sam Cotton for the third tight end spot behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.
Cody Hollister, meanwhile, signed for just $20,000 guaranteed and is buried amid a very deep receiving corps entering organized team activities.
The Patriots actually have two sets of brothers on their 90-man roster as they prepare for the 2017 season. Gronkowski and his younger brother, fullback Glenn, are the other.
“Having a family member — I think the only other ones here are Rob and Glenn, which is cool — it makes the process a lot easier,” Jacob Hollister said. “But at this point, we’re football players, so we’re used to being apart and going different places. But it definitely makes it easier.”
Left thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images
Right thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images