Dustin Hopkins is one of the top rated kickers in the nation for the 2009 recruiting class. Usually kickers don't get offered until later in the process, so Hopkins has been a little take back by all the interest he has received so far. His offer list has grown over the past month.
"Recruiting has picked up a little bit lately. I am up to 5 offers now from Florida State, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas State and Notre Dame. The offer from Notre Dame was a big one. I feel honored that they've offered because not only are they a good team but they're also a great academic school."
The 5 schools that have offered Hopkins are not the only programs that have been in contact with him. Some of the top programs in the nation have been sending him mail for some time as they are hoping they can turn Dustin onto what they have to offer. Right now Dustin is taking it all in, and depending on how serious these schools are will determine if he considers them throughout his process.
"I've been talking to LSU, Oklahoma, Stanford, Northwestern, Miami, California, Tennessee and Alabama through the mail. I am interested in some of those schools so I want to see how it all works out. They are different variables that will determine if some of these schools work out or not. I know stuff happens and some of them are more serious than the others. For instance I know LSU had a good walk-on come in, so they're probably out. Schools like Oklahoma, Stanford and Northwestern seem a lot more serious right now."
After a good visit to FSU last month Dustin placed the Seminoles at the top of his list. With more schools starting to show more interest, Hopkins says the Noles are still a team that he holds in high regard.
"FSU is still a favorite. I really enjoyed my visit there and I have stayed in constant contact with Coach Coley. They're definitely one of the top schools. I feel like they are a program that is on the way up. They've never really been down, but they haven't been what they normally are recently. I think they're on the rise."
Coach Coley has been working hard recruiting Hopkins, and Dustin says the two have built a good relationship. The straightforwardness of Coley is what Dustin likes, and the fact they the Noles need a kicker is what's keeping the interest strong.
"I have a good relationship with him (Coach Coley). This is going to sound casual but he is a really cool guy. I like how he always tells you how it is. He is a straight shooter; if you like that good and if you don't he's like take it easy. When I talk to him about how they need a kicker it seems like he means what he says and that he isn't just telling me things. I truly feel like I am someone who they need to come there."
Dustin told NoleDigest that he plans on making a decision at the end of July. Before the decision is made he plans on going on an extensive tour of some of the schools he is looking at. After that, look for a decision to be made.
"I am probably going to be done at the end of July. I don't want to drag it out so I want to do it this summer to take the load of my team and my family. I don't want anything to interfere with us going to states."
"We're still working on where we are going to visit. Going to Seminole Showtime is one of those positives I know. The next couple days we are going to go to Notre Dame and Northwestern. I'd also like to see Mississippi State and Kansas State. I visited Oklahoma a few years back, but that seems like a distant memory. It's like a 7 hour drive so I may go see them. It just depends on how serious some of these schools are and that will dictate who I visit this summer."
The need for a kicker in this class, combined with the great job Coach Coley has been doing, makes the Seminoles one of the teams to beat for Hopkins. With a great visit last month and a camp trip coming later this summer it looks like the Noles are in a great position to possibly land his commitment at the end of July. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Dustin and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.