Keep an eye on Hopper

CLEMSON - With Deshaun Watson now running with the first team offense, don't be surprised if this up-and-coming wide receiver starts to put up big numbers.

Through the first three games of the 2014 season, Germone Hopper's stats won't necessarily blow you away: 4 catches, 66 yards and zero touchdowns.

However it's obvious he's become more of a consistent threat in the down field passing game. And with the insertion of Deshaun Watson in the starting lineup, that could pay dividends for the redshirt sophomore, who could very well be on the verge of a breakout season.

Add in the fact Saturday's game against North Carolina could feature as many as 180 offensive snaps between the two teams given how fast both offenses like to play the game, and don't be surprised to see Hopper targeted 6-8 times, possibly more.

"We are going to have a lot of opportunities to score," Hopper said. "They're a good team and they have a good defense but we have to game plan and execute to be able to take of business. The scoreboard from last week doesn't really show how good they could be. Their defensive backs are good. But yeah, this is the kind of game you look forward to."

Most fans have heard the story by now, but it's worth noting once again Hopper emerged from the doldrums of summer a new player.

Having been suspended for a game last season and also for the majority of spring practice earlier this year, Hopper's maturity and on-the-field play have gone to the next level.

Now all that's left is for him to have a breakout performance.

Playing this weekend against his home state school, who just gave up 70 points in a road loss at East Carolina a week ago, could be the recipe needed to make it happen.

"Again, they are better than they showed (at ECU)," Hopper insists. "But Coach Morris always says we are the most explosive offense in the country, so hopefully we can go out there and prove that this weekend."

And when it comes to his new starting quarterback, Hopper said he's watched Watson closely throughout preseason camp and now three games into his freshman season. Watson's move into the starting lineup hasn't really been a surprise, but still, he catches himself at times wondering just how he's come this far in such a short period of time.

"He's very special," Hopper said. "He came in very advanced for a freshman. To come in at quarterback and be able to do all he does at such a complicated position? It's amazing. He's definitely ahead of schedule."

Hopper hopes he can get on that same Watson-type trajectory this weekend, too.

Don't be surprised if he does. Top Stories