For a player nominated as a preseason first-team all-state defensive back by NCPreps.com, Seventy-First (Fayetteville, N.C.) star senior James Hopper sure is doing well on the offensive side of the ball. The 5-10, 180-pound Virginia Tech commitment has totaled 327 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in four games, averaging almost eight yards per carry.
“I think I developed a lot, as a person and as a football player. This year, my speed and strength and agility have changed a lot. I’m playing offense a lot and scoring easily. Things I didn’t think I could do last year I’m doing now,” said Hopper, who also returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown and returned another punt 55 yards.
Seventy-First has reeled off four consecutive wins to start the 2008 season, which is certainly an important one for Hopper on several fronts.
“I’m one of our star players and I want to try to keep our undefeated season going. I don’t want to let my teammates down,” Hopper said. “This is my senior year, so a lot is on the line. I also want to try to help develop the program for our coaches so they will be able to continue the success next year. And I want to help our team win and also help to get more of our seniors to where I’m at now.”
Virginia Tech offered Hopper as a cornerback after his performance at camp in June. Has his offensive output changed which position the Tech coaches envision him playing?
“I’m not sure because, even though I’ve played cornerback, I haven’t really gotten passes or plays going my way this year. I have had more plays rushing and returning punts and kick-offs,” Hopper said. “I guess I’ll find out next year. As long as I get to play and be an impact player, then that is all I care about.”
Hopper had hoped to enroll at Virginia Tech in January of 2009, but he will not be able to because his school has switched to a year long scheduling system. A math class he is required to take will be a year long, so he will have to wait until...
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