ACC Football Top 25 Players of 2012: #3, DeAndre Hopkins

Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins Was Among the ACC's Biggest Surprises During a Record-Setting 2012

Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins Was Among the ACC’s Biggest Surprises During a Record-Setting 2012

As part of our 2012 season review, we’re counting down the top 25 players in the ACC this season, from no. 25 to no. 1. Obviously these lists are always completely subjective — and thus completely bulletproof, obviously — so feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, too.

No. 3, DeAndre Hopkins, WR/Clemson (Preseason Rank: NR)

This season was supposed to all about a Clemson receiver differentiating himself from the rest of the nation’s wideouts. But who knew that receiver would be Hopkins, rather than his highly-touted counterpart, Sammy Watkins? From game one though, Hopkins showed himself up to the task of being the Tigers’ top option. First against Auburn, 13 catches and one touchdown, then six catches for three touchdowns versus Ball State — whether Watkins was in the lineup or not, DeAndre Hopkins was a force from game-to-game, scoring at least one touchdown in all but one contest. The junior set Clemson records for touchdown catches in a season (18, in just 13 games) and receiving yards in a season (1,405), while turning himself into one of the nation’s most talked-about offense weapons and now a potential first-round NFL Draft pick. Yes, unfortunately, ‘Nuk will forgo his senior season and a sure-fire shot at a National Championship and potential Heisman Trophy buzz, in exchange for the pros. Where he’s selected is still up in the air, but wherever it may be, they’re inheriting a smart receiver who still has plenty more growth ahead of him.


#4, Bjoern Werner, DE/Florida State

#5, Ryan Nassib, QB/Syracuse

#6, Tank Carradine, DE/Florida State

#7, EJ Manuel, QB/Florida State

#8, Mike Glennon, QB/NC State

#9, Duke Johnson, RB/Miami

#10, Antone Exum, CB/Virginia Tech

#11, Conner Vernon, WR/Duke

#12, Jonathan Cooper, G/North Carolina

#13, Bryn Renner, QB/North Carolina

#14, Joe Vellano, DL/Maryland

#15, Alec Lemon, WR/Syracuse

#16, Earl Wolff, SS/NC State

#17, Kevin Reddick, LB/North Carolina

#18, Ross Cockrell, CB/Duke

#19, Jack Tyler, LB/Virginia Tech

#20, Dalton Freeman, C/Clemson

#21, Ray Graham, RB/Pittsburgh

#22, Oday Aboushi, OT/Virginia

#23, Andre Ellington, RB/Clemson

#24, Nick Clancy, LB/Boston College

#25, Aaron Donald, DT/Pittsburgh

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5 thoughts on “ACC Football Top 25 Players of 2012: #3, DeAndre Hopkins

    • I’ll miss him even as a non-Clemson fan. Was a fun player to watch, and really brought a lot of excitement to the Tigers’ offense. Hopefully Sammy Watkins can regain some of the swagger that made him such a threat during his freshman season to minimize the effect on the passing game next year.

      • He really was so much fun to watch. Guess we’ll have to wait and see where he starts his next chapter 🙂 I’m with you – I’d love to see Watkins back in his freshman-year form (or better)!

        • I think Watkins will have a clearer head so long as he avoids repeating last year’s offseason missteps. I think the arrest and suspension set a poor tone for the season, and he just wasn’t properly motivated (especially with Hopkins playing so well). Next year, I think he sees his opportunity to be the featured receiver again, potentially lead this team to a National Championship and of course, play himself into a top-10 selection in the NFL Draft. Hopefully all of this ends up being the case.

        • I think he learned his lesson – Dabo proved he won’t put up with it! I just think it’s funny that last year around this time he did an interview and said something along the lines of “sophomore slump? I don’t know what that is.” Didn’t help that he ended up in the hospital, either. I think he knows the opportunites that could be in front of him next season (and potentially beyond if all goes well for him – though I hope he sticks around for a senior season).

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