Hopkins Wastes No Time

Offensive lineman Tommy Hopkins spent his spring break in April traveling and checking out the football programs at Penn State, Bucknell, Temple, Boston College, Massachusetts and Connecticut. But the 6-foot-6, 298-pound tackle says he always had UConn at the top of his list.

So, when the Huskies called Friday with a scholarship offer, Hopkins couldn't think of any reason to waste time. Hopkins called back Monday night and committed to UConn.

"I think UConn pretty much was my favorite through the whole process," Hopkins said by telephone Tuesday night. "I liked everything about it, the coaches, the facilities . . . and I just got a really good feeling from there."

Hopkins played at UConn's camp last June, visited Storrs on Junior Day in February, and stopped in during that tour on spring break. He also attended UConn's 40-22 victory over Rutgers at Rentschler Field on Nov. 26, 2011.

Now he is planning a trip to the UConn campus on Friday to meet with coach Paul Pasqualoni, the academic support team, and to watch some game film. Perhaps most importantly for UConn, Hopkins says he won't be changing his mind - despite the fact he is an early commit. Linebacker coach John Wholley, who recruited Hopkins, called his high school coach to make the scholarship offer Friday.

The only other offer Hopkins had was from Bucknell but Penn State had increased its interest after finding out Hopkins had gained 20 pounds since the end of basketball season.

"I'm not visiting any other schools," Hopkins said."UConn was my No. 1 so I didn't need to wait for any more offers. I knew this is where I wanted to go. Coach Wholley is a really good guy and he gave me a good feeling. I met him at the camp last year. He visited my school. I've talked to on Facebook and over the phone.

"Coach Pasqualoni was really excited that I committed. And he told me what would happen Friday when I visit."

Tommy's father, Kevin Hopkins, said several schools picked up their interest after Tommy performed well at the New Jersey Elite 100 camp in late April. Hopkins has played basketball and lacrosse in high school but is focusing on his football future now.

"He was probably the world's biggest midfielder last year," Kevin Hopkins said. "He had to give it up. With the school visits he would have missed a lot of games. So he gave up lacrosse and he has been lifting five or six days a week. He was lifting all through basketball too. UConn and the other coaches told him the first time around he needed to get bigger in his upper body and he did."

With the extra weight and strength and the impressive performances lately, Hopkins could have waited for an offer from a bigger football school. But his father and the rest of the family support his quick decision.

"It was his No. 1 choice," Kevin Hopkins said. "We really liked it and UConn's a good school. We're in Westchester, so it borders Connecticut and is only about two hours away.

"We were at Rutgers last Saturday, and you could just tell he'd rather be at UConn. Everything was perfect. We liked the coaches and we've only heard good things about Pasqualoni. He went with his heart and head. Why drag it out? And if you drag it out, maybe someone else grabs those offers."

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