Football focused

CLEMSON - For the first time in his athletic career, DeAndre Hopkins is finally a one sport man. And the results are starting to show.

Hopkins, a former all-state football and basketball star at nearby Daniel High School, spent his freshman at Clemson on both the gridiron and hardwood.

"A lot of people don't know. This is, really, my first true offseason. I think that's what kind of helped this transition with my weight and speed," he said. "It helps out a lot. Honestly, I didn't think it would, because I'd never been through a true offseason. It's been good."

Now tipping the scales at 212 pounds, Hopkins, a junior, feels he's bigger, faster and stronger.

"That was the main goal of mine, the strength and speed, so I can be ready, hopefully, for the next level," he said.

He added, "I feel faster. I've improved in both areas."

In his first two seasons, neither of which was preceded by a full offseason workout regiment, Hopkins was a critical part of the Clemson offense.

As a freshman, Hopkins recorded 52 catches for 637 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 72 receptions for 978 yards and five scores.

Just imagine what could be in-store this fall.

"Coach [Dabo] Swinney always tells me, treat your body right -- those little things standout," Hopkins said. "I feel like the thing that I needed to work on was my strength. I've got the talent, I feel like. I just have to work on the other part of my game."

A key contributor to one of the most talented wide receiver corps in the country, Hopkins said things are coming together for the offense as a whole.

"Now, it's like clockwork. Everybody knows what's going on, even the second and third-string guys are moving along," he said.

But there's plenty left to improve upon with less than five months before Hopkins' junior season kicks off at the Georgia Dome.

"We've got plays, even now, that we can work on and improve on," he said. "In this offense, guys, the ego that we have, even though we're doing good, guys feel like we can do better. There's always room for improvement."

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