Dabo Swinney questions Hopkins’s decision to go pro

Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has entered the NFL Draft, foregoing his senior year of eligibility for the Tigers.  Head coach Dabo Swinney wondered aloud whether this was the right decision for Hopkins.

“I felt like he needed another year”, Swinney said. I felt like another year would be beneficial to him from an overall growth standpoint. That’s my opinion. I’ve said this before: unless you are a first rounder I just don’t think it’s worth giving up your senior year in college. That’s what my life experience tells me. I’ve been in college football for 24 years as a player and coach I just think you are always better off more times than not in another year of college maturing physically and mentally in every regard…unless you have a chance to be a first rounder.”

Swinney went on to explain that he emphasizes the first round due to the difficulty of players who go later in the draft to secure a second contract, but added that he believes Hopkins will succeed in the NFL.

“I know this, he’s going to be a great pro, Swinney said. “Whoever gets him, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not a matter of can he go play. I think he’s going to play at a high level. I think he’s going to be a great player.

So where is Hopkins currently projected? CBSSports.com and SBNation.com list Hopkins as their 34th best prospect, which would slot him just outside the first round.  It’s only January, so his stock could fluctuate based on his performances leading up to the draft.  He could work his way into the first round, or watch his value drop.

As for Swinney’s evaluation, it could be taken two ways.  One, naturally, is the viewpoint of Clemson’s head coach.  Dabo Swinney obviously would love to have Hopkins on his roster next season, a player who set many school career records despite only three seasons at Death Valley.  This could have been a coach selfishly stating his displeasure in not having Hopkins around next year or getting this “opinion” regarding first-round status in the open for future Clemson players he hopes to retain.

There’s also the chance that Swinney is simply a coach concerned for the well-being of one of his players. This is an important decision for Hopkins that will impact the rest of his life.  If Swinney firmly believes he can improve Hopkins before the 2014 draft (and what coach wouldn’t?), then he can see the potential of a higher draft pick in a year.  Of course, that is a gamble, as any of a number of issues or injuries can derail Hopkins’s prospects of going pro.

Hopefully, the latter is the case.  It may be an overly optimistic viewpoint, but I’m sure Hopkins would appreciate that more than a coach posturing as a caring leader who then puts his players on blast when they move to the next step of their lives.

We are the champions?: Georgia Tech went to the ACC Championship Game as the Coastal Division’s representative. However, billboards are now on display in North Carolina declaring the Tar Heels were Coastal Division champions.

To jog your memory, the Tar Heels, along with Georgia Tech and Miami, finished the season with a 5-3 record in conference play.  However, Miami and UNC were on postseason bans, so Georgia Tech went on to the ACC Championship.  While, apparently, the Tar Heels would have won the tiebreaker if all teams involved were eligible, the ACC made a point to clarify in October that no team under NCAA sanctions (wink, wink, North Carolina) would be recognized by the conference as a divisional champion.

Nonetheless, North Carolina stated throughout the season that winning the mythical divisional title would be their goal in 2012, and it is a goal they “reached.”  I’m sure the ACC is not happy about this (or Georgia Tech fans, for that matter).  I’m not sure I would have handled it quite like this if I were on the UNC football staff.  But there’s something to be said for setting a goal, and achieving it, in a season where the Tar Heels, otherwise, had nothing to play for.


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1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. (early) Second-round projection or not, I think Hopkins is as good as he’s going to get. Sammy Watkins gets all the love from those outside the Clemson program, but Hopkins is the real deal. When Sammy got hurt early in the bowl game against LSU, I thought, “No biggie. Hopkins can handle it.”

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