Hopkins excited about opportunity

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It may have taken some prodding from football coach Dabo Swinney, but DeAndre Hopkins plans to give basketball a go after Clemson's bowl game against South Florida.

Still, for the next few days, his focus remains in Charlotte.

"It's on football and beating South Florida, so I'm really not looking forward to basketball quite yet," Hopkins said when asked about his future with the Tiger basketball team. "I'll wait until this game is over with."

Basketball coach Brad Brownell initially approached Swinney about the possibility of allowing Hopkins to play.

Swinney then spoke to Hopkins.

"I think he was kind of nervous to ask me about it, so I initiated the conversation with him," Swinney said. "It was something we talked about in the recruiting process, but I think he was relieved when I brought up, because I think it was really something that he wanted to try to do."

During his prep career at Daniel High School, Hopkins was a three-time all-state selection. He accumulated more than 1,300 points, 400 rebounds, 600 assists and 200 steals at Daniel.

"Me being me, I said sure," he said of the opportunity. "I've played basketball before. I've won a state championship. I'm just going to come out and try to help the best I can."

In basketball, Hopkins had offers from Florida, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

Along with Clemson, Michigan, South Carolina and Tennessee offered for football.

It took some deliberating during high school, but he determined football would be his path at the collegiate level.

"It was kind of a process in high school, which one I thought my talents could take me further in," Hopkins said. "It was football, so I went with that."

Now he'll get a chance to do both at Clemson, which wasn't an option when Oliver Purnell was still on the job as basketball coach. Hopkins wasn't offered by the Tigers' previous hoops staff.

There were always whispers around some circles that he wasn't good enough to play in the ACC.

"I just laughed at that," Hopkins said.

He played with and against pretty stiff competition with the South Carolina Ravens on the AAU circuit.

Hopkins played against and with the likes of John Wall, Noel Johnson, Bruce Ellington and Robbie Dreher.

"Every time I played against a guy that was going to college to play basketball, I [thought] if he can go, I can play, but I committed to football," Hopkins said. "It really wasn't a big difference at all between us, or it was me being the better point guard."

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