Cushing and Hopkins back at camp
DeAndre Hopkins had trouble sleeping Thursday night. The Texans are hoping he passes that problem along to the league’s defensive coordinators.
“I was more than excited to come out here,” Hopkins said with a smile inside the practice bubble at the Methodist Training Center. “It was almost like the first day of school, you know. You can’t sleep at night. I kept waking up, like ‘man, is it that time yet?’ It was great coming out here.”
The 21-year-old receiver said he needed to dial down his excitement some before the first day of camp but that wasn’t difficult around players like the ultra-reserved Pro Bowler Andre Johnson.
“You always do when you’re around a group of guys like this, they’re not much screaming guys out here,” Hopkins said. “They come out here and handle business like professionals.”
Hopkins, the 27th overall selection in the NFL Draft, has had a heap of expectations and responsibilities thrown at him since the Texans called his name in April. He comes in as a starting wide receiver, working across from the best player in the franchise’s history in Johnson.
And he’s not just playing with Johnson; he’s learning from him too. “When I make a mistake, he’s right on me, just like Coach (Larry) Kirksey,” Hopkins said.
The team is hoping Hopkins will be a viable threat in the passing game in his rookie season after an incredible junior season at Clemson. But those collegiate statistics and accomplishments don’t mean much anymore.
And neither does the admiration from his new teammates, even though they were happy to dish it out on Thursday, the day before camp started.
“He has great hands,” Johnson said. “I’ve never seen a guy that just one-hands the ball like he does.”
“He is a tremendously talented guy,” center Chris Myers said. “I’m anxious to see how everything works out once he gets pads on and once we start having competition with the preseason games. He has proved himself throughout OTAs that he can handle a load and he is able to run the routes the right way. He has gained the respect of the coaches, but training camp is a different deal. Once we get out here, I’m obviously hoping that everything works out. DeAndre is a talented guy and when you look at him he is a physical specimen, so we will let training camp play out.”
When asked about the praise from his teammates, Hopkins said he tries not to listen to it. He tries to simply focus on playing football, what he said he knows how to do best.
When asked specifically about his seemingly unique ability to catch the football with one hand, Hopkins, with his size-3x gloves, was quick to shake it off.
“I feel like a lot of guys can do it,” he said. “I haven’t played a single game, a single snap in the NFL yet, so I wouldn’t rave too much about it, you know, until I get in the game and do it.”
He'll get that chance soon enough.