2013 Forecast: Coming off redshirt, Germone Hopper's poised for strong debut

Clemson wide receiver Germone Hopper catches a ball during practice before kickoff at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson wide receiver Germone Hopper catches a ball during practice before kickoff at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Germone Hopper is someone Chad Morris hasn’t yet had in the offense – in a couple of ways.

In 2011, four freshmen – led by Sammy Watkins – played a major role in the debut of the no-huddle spread in TigerTown. Watkins then, the unanimous five-star talent in the group, set the standard for years to come among first-years.

Last year, those freshmen turned into a high-impact sophomores and combined with DeAndre Hopkins and co. to dominate the production.

That gives us Hopper – Morris’ first top talent having the benefit of a redshirt year to take in the offense.

Freshman WRs under Morris (Clemson)

2012: None.

2011: Sammy Watkins – 82 receptions – 1,219 yards – 12 TDs – 14.9 YPR

Adam Humphries – 15 catches – 166 yards – 2 TDs – 8.7 YPR

Martavis Bryant – 9 catches – 221 yards – 2 TDs – 24.6 YPR

Charone Peake – 4 catches – 71 yards – 17.5 YPR

The last best example of a redshirt freshman receiver in a Clemson offense is Bryce McNeal, who in 2010 was sixth on the team in receptions (19) and fifth in yards (187) – averaging a catch every 12 completions and 9.8 yards per in a pretty anemic attack that season.

An even six-foot and weighing in at 175 pounds, Hopper, a four-star prospect, was an all-purpose back at Berry Academy in Charlotte, N.C.

He rushed for over 4,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in four seasons and accounted for over 3,000 yards and 50 touchdowns total in his final two. Hopper was also a weapon in the return game, using his sub-4.5 40 speed for six special teams scores (five kickoffs/one punt) in his senior season.

Projection – Brandon Rink (O&W)

2013 Outlook: 30 catches – 375 yards – 1 TD

Hopper is listed No. 2 behind Adam Humphries on the depth chart – so if you weren’t already convinced he’ll play a bunch…it’s going to happen.

Humphries, backing up Watkins over his career, is Clemson’s second-active leader in receptions and the Tar Heel State product Hopper has a chance to pick up the production and increase the yards per reception of his predecessor.

He is perfect for the quick-pass game and will probably take a few handoff-like quick tosses that will get the ball in his hands.

Projection – Marty Coleman (Seldom Used Reserve)

Hopper jumps off the screen to me. I remember asking who #5 on offense was during the 2012 spring game. Germone Hopper. He’s all over the field on seemingly every play. The ball finds him. And he catches it.

I believe Hopper benefited greatly from a redshirt year. Before he steps on the field Hopper will have a spring game and about a year and a half of the college experience under his belt. That makes a difference for most guys and I believe it will make a difference for Hopper. Check out more of Coleman’s analysis here.

More 2013 Forecasts

WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson tight ends (Jordan Leggett, Stanton Seckinger, Jay Jay McCullough), QB Tajh Boyd, WR Martavis Bryant, RB Rod McDowell, WR Charone Peake, RB D.J. Howard, WR Adam Humphries, Freshman four-star RBs (Tyshon Dye and Wayne Gallman).

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