SANTA ANA, Calif. -- At 6-foot-1, 280 pounds, Kyle Hoppe is a stout, barrel-chested offensive lineman, but admittedly a little on the short side. When he went to San Jose State’s prospect camp this past summer, the Spartans had absolutely no problem with that.
“I went to their camp, and they had everything on film. I talked to the coach after, and they were saying that they liked me, and at center, they said that they didn’t really care about my height,” Hoppe said after practice for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl this week. “So, I went to their camp, and in the next couple days, they offered me. I started looking at their roster and everything, and I saw that there’s only one center on their roster, and he’s a senior.
“I thought that that was the school that had the best chance for me to play and get a good education, stay in California, and the coaches there are also awesome.”
San Jose State wants Hoppe to come in weighing as much as he can, while maintaining his athleticism.
“I’m probably going to stay where I’m at, keep getting stronger and putting on muscle,” Hoppe said.
Staying in-state was important for the Temecula, Calif., native, who also had an offer from New Mexico State.
“I love California. It’s my home. I’ve always lived here. I would have gone out of state, but I’m glad I’m staying in California,” Hoppe said. “Last year, it was a very young team. It was kind of a down year, but this year, we have a lot of guys coming back, and I’m really excited to see what we can do. There’s tons of potential over there, so we’ll see if we can win a Mountain West championship.”
His experience this week has helped prepare him for what he’ll face at the next level.
“It’s awesome, competing with some of the best kids in the nation,” Hoppe said. “You never see this competition down at the high school level, when you’re just playing league games. I think it’s really going to prepare me to play at the next level.”
Hoppe, who has a 3.3 GPA, wants to be a shoe designer for NIKE, so is planning on majoring in graphic design or business.
Hoppe’s father was in the Navy, and he appreciates the work ethic the Marines coaching up the West team have demonstrated.
“It’s just a whole different lifestyle,” Hoppe said. “It seems like it’s 24/7, just go go, and I think that’s awesome,” Hoppe said. “Getting a little glimpse of that puts in your mind how hard you can really work.”