Class of ’08: Highland Springs

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Highland Springs typically has one of the more talented high school football programs in the state, having produced a number of players rated among the state’s top 30 prospects in the past several years. Highland Springs’ class of 2008 promises to be no different, as Head Coach Scott Burton boasts five potential Division 1 recruits.

The early headliner of the group may be Antoine Hopkins, a 6-2, 240-pound defensive end recruit who Coach Burton feels has room to grow in terms of size (Antoine wears a size 17 shoe) and ability. The talented defender does not hold any offers at this point, but don’t be surprised if some come soon.

“Antoine is a good player,” Burton said. “The analogy I use with him is that you have a can of soda and you shake it up and you shake it up. When you eventually open it, it’s going to explode. That’s what we’re waiting for from him. We need him to shake himself up and then figure out how to pop the top. That’s what we’re waiting for with Antoine. When he pops that top, he’s going to be a pretty good player.

“The standards are high for him. He had a great sophomore year and he got a lot of recognition and notoriety. I told him that all the notoriety he’s getting is based on potential. It’s not based on now; it’s based on further down the road. That’s hard for kid’s this age to learn.”

Hopkins sees time on both sides of the ball, but is being recruited for defense on the next level. As a sophomore last season, he earned Richmond Times-Dispatch first-team all-metro honors at defensive end after racking up 66 tackles including 15 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks.

“Antoine is playing both ways for us, which is tough,” Burton said. “He’s playing on the offensive line because we need him there and he’s obviously playing defensive end. He’s doing what we ask him to. He’s another kid who doesn’t miss workouts, but we’re trying to get him to take some more initiative right now. That’s a common theme with some of our players.”

Getting offensive…

Hopkins is the only top prospect projected initially on the defensive side of the ball. Four others – Matthew Hurdle, Harry Lee Daniel, Deon Miller and Rod Wheeler – will likely project on offense.

Hurdle is a smooth signal caller with a good arm and good mobility. Unfortunately, the 6-3 player has not been healthy in the beginning of his junior season.