|Hopkins ready to compete for starting receiver position|
|by David Hood - Senior Writer - Wednesday, February 10, 2010 9:22 AM||
CLEMSON – DeAndre Hopkins earned his special nickname by going through pacifiers at a high rate of speed when he was a baby. Now he is ready to do the same thing to college defenses.
Hopkins, a wide receiver out of Daniel High School, signed with Clemson earlier this month, and he is ready to bring his nickname and his superlative game to the sidelines at Death Valley.
Hopkins goes by the nickname Nuke, and he said it is from the Nuk brand of baby pacifiers that he had when he was a baby.
“I used to suck on those Nuk pacifiers when I was young,” he said. “I used to go through a lot of them and break them, so that is how I got the nickname. Now everybody calls me Nuke.”
However, don’t think that there is anything baby-like about Hopkins, who drew the notice of Clemson recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott because of his physical style of play.
“He has a defensive personality," Scott said of Hopkins. "He reminds me of DeAndre [McDaniel] with his passion and physical play. He's got a chance to play early. When I got his tapes in, I made sure we cut out the ones of him playing defense and just kept the ones of him playing offense.”
Hopkins said that if he had to compare his game to a current receiver, it would be former Gamecock and current Minnesota Viking receiver Sidney Rice.
“I am not the fastest person on the field, but when I get the ball in my hands I make something happen,” he said. “I can be a possession receiver, but I can go and get the ball, too. I kind of like it when defensive backs get physical with me, because it just makes me step up my game a little bit more. I like the contact, and that comes from being on the defensive side.”
Hopkins made his commitment to the Tigers early on, in March of 2009, and said he knew from the beginning that Clemson was the right place for him.
“It was because the coaches made it feel like home to me,” Hopkins said. “And it is close to my real home, so it is what I was looking for. I don’t have to go out of state, and I like what I can get at Clemson both in school and on the football field. That means a lot to me. And I love my family, and as many chances I can get to see my family, I want to see them.”
Hopkins will start school in June, and said he is ready for August, when he will have a chance to go out and compete for a receiving job. He said that he feels like the competition at wide receiver will be wide open, especially considering that the leading returner at wide receiver is Xavier Dye, with just 14 catches.
“I love going out there and competing with the other players,” Hopkins said. “It’s going to be fun and exciting, and I think I will do very well. I think I have the ability to go out on the field and help out my team a lot next year. From a physical standpoint, I feel like I am ready for whatever happens next year.
“This summer, I am going to hit the weight room and prepare even harder for the season coming up. I feel like I have an advantage going in at the receiver position, because the coaches have high expectations of me. I know they didn’t have a good season from some of the wide receivers, but even if they had, I would still come in and compete and just do everything I have to do.”
And, Hopkins will already have a pretty good working knowledge of one of the Clemson quarterbacks once he steps on campus.
“Me and Tajh Boyd, we talk all the time,” Hopkins said. “Pretty soon, just me and him are going to go out and start throwing, and get a little chemistry going on. He just kind of called me one day, and we came up with the idea. Just so we already know each other, and I know the audibles, and know where the ball will be at certain times. And he will know how I adjust in certain situations.”
2010 Football Signees
Tavaris Barnes DT 6-5 240 David Beasley OL 6-4 290 Victor Beasley ATH 6-5 215 Bashaud Breeland ATH 6-1 190 Desmond Brown DB 6-0 195 Martavis Bryant WR 6-4 190 Demont Buice RB 6-2 205 Ricky Chaney LB 6-3 200 Sam Cooper TE 6-5 230 Joe Craig ATH 6-0 170 Corey Crawford DE 6-5 235 Kalon Davis OL 6-5 325 DeAndre Hopkins ATH 6-2 170 D.J. Howard RB 6-0 190 Martin Jenkins DB 5-9 170 Jake Nicolopulos LB 6-2 220 Justin Parker LB 6-3 230 Garry Peters DB 6-0 175 Darius Robinson DB 6-0 170 Tra Thomas DT 6-1 270 Gifford Timothy OL 6-6 290 Josh Watson DT 6-3 285 Reid Webster OL 6-5 270
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