Nuk opens up

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins is a man a few words, at least in front of the media, and admitted this week that he likes to let his play on the field do the talking.

If that’s his style, then he is talking loud and clear. Hopkins leads the ACC in receiving in the three major categories – receptions (49), yards (777) and touchdowns (8), and has seemingly set or tied a new record each week.

Hopkins doesn't agree to meet with the media often, but he sat down with us on Monday and was very open and humorous.

At one point, he told us that he likes to stay away from the limelight, and likes to let quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
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be the face of the franchise.

“I let Tajh do all of the celebrity, Hollywood stuff and I would be behind the scenes taping,” Hopkins said on Monday. “I just like to let my play out on the field do the talking. There isn't too much that needs to be said. If anything needs to be said, it’s politicking, honestly. That’s just my theory.”

Nuk covered a lot of topics, including how he got his nickname and how it is spelled.

On whether he thought he could have this kind of success

“I projected myself doing this, honestly. I knew they were going to double-team Sammy and that kind of stuff. I felt like if I kept my eyes on what was thrown to me that I would have a great season. I’ve been doing this since my freshman year, so it’s not really surprising me. It might surprise some people, but not me. I felt like I showed people since my freshman year. It might be a surprise to some people.”

On the difference between this season and his first two

“I would say strength and speed. Having a whole off-season to dedicate to football really made the difference. “

On if he is thinking about the NFL

“It’s not really in my thoughts. I’m just capturing the moment right now and enjoying every day and every minute. If you start thinking about long term, you kinda forget to have fun right now. I’m not doing that.”

On how he would game-plan to stop Nuk Hopkins if he was a defensive coordinator

“If I was a great defensive-minded coach what would I do? I don’t know. You have to pick your poison. I hope they keep focusing in on other players and keep leaving me in single coverage. It’s hard because we have so many players out there that it’s hard to choose one player to focus on. I would double team me. I feel like I’m worth that double team.”

On if the Tigers are overlooking Virginia Tech

“Last year we kinda played down to opponents and then the big games, we played up to our level of play. Last year we knew we had a lot on the line after losing to South Carolina and then we knew that in the ACC Championship, we couldn’t let that slip away from us. We played well against Virginia Tech. Coach Morris dials up their defense pretty good. We played down to opponents last year, but we knew we had to have that win.

“We don’t overlook anyone. We didn’t overlook the teams we played the first couple of games that weren’t that good. If you’re playing Division I football, you know that you are capable of beating anybody. You’re not worried about the record; we just have to do whatever it takes to beat these guys.

“Revenge is a big thing. Last season, Georgia Tech ended our 8-0 season and a lot of guys; we knew we had to have that revenge. And, for Virginia Tech, we ended their chance for an ACC Championship; they are going to have a chip on their shoulders coming in.”

On how he got his nickname

“It’s Nuk. It’s a brand of pacifier and that’s how I got my nickname. It wasn’t made up. It’s Nuk- the brand name. My mother started calling me that and then the neighborhood caught on. I think there were three kids that grew up with me named DeAndre and none of them had nicknames so it kinda just stuck with me. I tell people I got the nickname because I’m a nuclear bomb and I’m explosive. I think if the fans find out someone might try to throw some pacifiers on the field or something. I would chew up the pacifiers and that’s the only kind that my mom said I would use.”

On following in the footsteps of his uncle, the late Terry Smith

“He was like a father to me. I knew he played here and had a great career. I wanted to do the same thing. I feel like I’m making him proud. He wasn't the fastest guy out there, but he made plays.”

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