Former Lion shines for Tigers

CLEMSON — In his freshman season at Clemson University, former Daniel standout DeAndre Hopkins’ football career seemed to be off to a good start.

The freshman led the team in receptions, but in his sophomore year, Hopkins seemed to just be another person wearing an orange jersey.
The problem wasn’t that Hopkins was doing less — he still was considered the “go-to” receiver by many Tiger fans — but he was overshadowed by a new teammate, freshman sensation Sammy Watkins.

Watkins set a new school record for receiving yards in a season (1,219) and touchdown receptions and had the second most receptions in a season by a Tiger (82).

The rivalry between the two young receivers for Clemson only existed in the minds of some fans, but during the offseason, an off-the-field incident gave Hopkins the opportunity to reclaim his position as Clemson’s top receiver. Watkins was suspended for two games coming into this season, leaving the talented Tigers a man short for their a season-opener against Auburn in the Georgia Dome.

Hopkins remained his usual quiet self, never one to grab headlines through irresponsible comments to the media.

Against Auburn, Hopkins set a new school record by catching 13 passes for 119 yards. The night broke former Tiger Airese Currie’s record of 12 catches against Middle Tennessee State in 2003.

Last week, as the Tigers routed Ball State, Hopkins tied another school record by catching three touchdown passes in one game.

Amazingly, Hopkins caught all three scoring pass in the game’s second quarter.

This week, as Watkins returns to the Tiger lineup, Hopkins will try to become the first Clemson player to have four straight games with 100 or more yards in receptions. He is currently tied with the other three players who hit the mark in three consecutive games: Charlie Waters (1969), Tony Horne (1997) and Rod Gardner (2000).

Hopkins is currently first in the ACC with four TD receptions. He is second in the ACC with 19 catches. He has earned 224 yards on his catches.

This week, as the Tigers host 0-3 Furman, the only question seems to be is whether Hopkins can continue his strong numbers with Watkins on the field.