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December 8, 2012

Hopkins noncommittal on future

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  • CLEMSON, S.C. -- Record-setting wide receiver Nuk Hopkins will soon submit his paperwork to the NFL underclassman advisory committee and is fully expected to test the NFL waters after the conclusion of the 2012 season. But beyond that, the Central native doesn't want to discuss his future.

    Asked Saturday after day one of Clemson's bowl practice if he had drawn closer to a decision about his future, Hopkins answered, "Negative. Negative."

    The junior was then asked if he had a time frame on when he'd sit down and further evaluate his options. Hopkins replied, "Nah. I'm not talking about that."

    The former D.W. Daniel star has caught at least 50 balls in each of the last three years, and has been named a second-team All-American by four publications this fall following a stellar season in which he recorded 69 catches for 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    While other juniors on the Tigers' roster will submit paperwork to the NFL underclassman advisory committee, Hopkins is expected to draw the highest grade of those doing so.

    "If you're not a first-rounder, it's to your benefit to come back to school," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. "I just believe that, especially if you haven't graduated."

    Swinney said he will sit down with Hopkins and serve as a "fact man," offering his opinion if it is sought.

    "My role is to support them in whatever decision they make. If they want my opinion, I'll give it to them. But these are grown, young men. Each person has to make his own decision and live with it."

    Swinney added: "For some guys, they're just ready to get to the next level. Jamie Harper, he didn't care if he was a seventh rounder or not. He was just ready to go to work. He said, 'Coach, I've got to go to work.' And he came back last spring, paid his own way and went through a whole semester of school and got his degree."

    Hopkins was a major factor in Clemson's high-powered offense that finished the regular season in the top 10, averaging over 500 yards a contest. The Tigers also ranked 13th nationally in passing offense, sixth in scoring offense.

    The former four-star prospect has put together an outstanding career with the Tigers, as he enters the bowl game with 193 catches, 2,829 yards and 25 career touchdowns.

    The Tigers' receiving corps can afford to absorb a hit in the off-season with the return of Sammy Watkins, Adam Humphries, Martavis Bryant, Charone Peake, Germone Hopper and heralded prospects Demarcus Robinson, Mike Willliams and Ryan Jenkins, who are a part of the current recruiting class.

    However, Hopkins' return would be encouraging news for an offense that is expected to be even more potent in 2013.

    Saturday, Swinney sounded optimistic of Hopkins staying.

    "I don't know what he's going to do, but personally I think he'll be back at Clemson. But we'll see," said the coach.

    Added Swinney: "Right now the time is to focus on LSU. Nothing happens on December 31 other than the bowl game. The draft isn't on January 1."

    *** To chat with other Clemson fans about this article please visit The West Zone message board.

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