2012 Season Countdown: #21 Stephen Hopkins

2012 Season Countdown: #21 Stephen Hopkins


August 9, 2012
Stephen Hopkins (#33)

Name: Stephen Hopkins
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 240 lbs.
High school: Double Oak (TX) Marcus
Position: Fullback
Class: Junior
Jersey number: #33
Last year: I ranked Hopkins #29 and said he would be the starting fullback with 200 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.  He did start at fullback, but carried only 11 times for 43 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and caught 1 pass for 28 yards.

The running back positions were rather muddled going into 2011 with a new coaching staff coming in who probably wouldn’t agree with the old coaching staff on how to play their running backs.  Hopkins reportedly struggled with being told that the coaches wanted him to play fullback, but he bought in once he found out how much he would play, which was quite a bit.  It also probably helped when he saw Fitzgerald Toussaint breaking numerous long runs from the tailback position, something Hopkins wouldn’t be able to do himself.  He developed into a pretty solid blocker after a few games, and then maybe he bought in too much when he reportedly showed up to spring practices a little too heavy.

Now listed at 235 lbs., Hopkins seems primed for another solid season as the starting fullback.  The writing is on the wall that Toussaint is the starter and the coaches want Thomas Rawls to be his primary backup, so hopefully Hopkins enjoys thumping linebackers right in the chest.  He has just one career reception and his number of carries fell to 11 last season, so while he might get a few more touches in 2012, he probably won’t contribute a whole lot more.  He might be one of the most athletically gifted fullbacks in the Big Ten (as a former 4-star tailback coming out of high school), so perhaps he can surprise an occasional unsuspecting opponent with a big run when Al Borges decides to hand him the ball.

Prediction: Starting fullback; 15 carries, 60 yards, 1 touchdown

6 comments

  1. Comments: 21381
    Anonymous
    Aug 09, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    It will be very interesting to see if Borges involves Hopkins in the passing game. He certainly seems athletic enough, and the fullback wheel route was one of the key constraint plays that USC used back in the Matt Leinart/Mark Sanchez days.

    One of the two times I remember him being used in the passing game (the other being against Minnesota) Hopkins had a chance at a game changing play in the MSU game, but Gardner never saw him wide open in the middle of the field.

  2. Comments: 21381
    Aug 09, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I always think of the big touchdown run that got called back because Jackson got his hand stuck in the defender's facemask. Hopkins can still turn in a few quality runs when he needs to do so.

  3. Comments: 21381
    Lanko
    Aug 09, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    If we're moving to a pro-style for really, I hope it's the kind of pro-style that uses the FB regularly to keep defenses honest. I like what Hopkings brings to the table and hope Borges gets him the ball.

  4. Comments: 21381
    Aug 09, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Magnus, what do you think about the chances of us seeing Borges run some Spider 2 Y banana stuff (ripped right from Gruden's QB Camp with Andrew Luck), now that we've got an athletic FB who can catch out of the backfield? Is Borges' west coast offense at all similar to what Stanford has run the past few years?

    • Comments: 21381
      Aug 10, 2012 at 12:46 AM

      Well, he didn't show a willingness to use that play much last season. I think we'll see that kind of play eventually, but Denard Robinson isn't going to run it much. It is a good play, though.

      I don't think Michigan's offense is going to resemble Stanford's the past few years. I don't think we'll use as many formations and shifts, and I think we'll see more split backs and spread stuff. Stanford doesn't typically get the kind of skill athletes that have come to Michigan historically, so Michigan should be able to spread it out a little more rather than using power, tight ends, and so much play action.

  5. Comments: 21381
    EGD
    Aug 09, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Ball security has always been the reason Hopkins hasn't gotten more carries. In my opinion, how much of a factor Hopkins is this season will directly depend on how much the coaches trust him to hang onto the (damn) ball.

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