Hopper passing the eye test

CLEMSON - After an up-and-down start to his Clemson career, Germone Hopper is starting to settle in to what could be a major role in the Tigers' offense.

Germone Hopper arrived at Clemson more than two years ago with high expectations.

As a four-star wide receiver out of Charlotte, his high school highlights reminded you more of Sammy Watkins or C.J. Spiller than anyone else.

Possessing good hands and outstanding quickness, Hopper made opposing defenses look foolish throughout his high school career.

But like most 18 year olds, it's taken him some time to mature at the next level.

After redshirting his freshman season in Tigertown, he started to see the field more and more a year ago until a mid-season suspension slowed his progress.

Still, he ended his first year fifth on the team in catches - 23 total for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

Fast forward to this past March, Hopper again appears to making strides until it was announced he would sit the final half of spring practice to focus more on his academics.

"He's a good young man, talented, but not very focused or committed to doing what he needs to do academically," Dabo Swinney said at the time. "So I'm giving him some time to go focus at Vickery Hall. That's what he's going to be working on these next few weeks."

Make no mistake about it, Germone Hopper has needed some tough love along the way to help straighten things out.

And he's gotten it.

Talking to CUTigers after Saturday's scrimmage, Hopper said it's both Swinney and his mother who helped him develop his new attitude.

"There have been no hard feelings," he said. "I know he wanted what is best for me. So I had to change some things off the field to do it. My mom has talked to me about it and she's helped me with everything. She needs to be commended for how she helps me.

"Everybody needs to grow up and that's what I'm doing."

Hopper entered school two years ago thinking as long as he played well on the field, everything else would take care of itself.

He soon found out that wasn't the case.

It takes focus, determination and hard work non only on the gridiron but away from it as well.

"I'm more focused now," Hopper says. "I was thinking the on the field stuff would take care of everything. But it goes hand in hand as Coach Swinney always says. In order to have everything right you have to be a disciplined player off the field... so that's what I've been working on."

Having caught one of four touchdown passes in Saturday's scrimmage, Hopper has also caught the attention of offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do... so far," Morris said. "We'll see if it continues."

Time will tell the story here, but Hopper's attitude and work ethic have seemingly changed.

And the Tigers are hoping that trend continues for the foreseeable future.

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