Texans' Nuk Hopkins looking for more opportunities to make his team better

The Clemson Sports Blog

Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins (10) is tripped by New England Patriots' Aqib Talib, bottom right, after a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

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Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins (10) is tripped by New England Patriots' Aqib Talib, bottom right, after a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

A year ago in Houston, DeAndre Hopkins was the talk of the town.

Just drafted by the Texans in an effort to broaden their offensive attack and help get them over the hump as a Super Bowl contender, Hopkins went about his business and turned in a solid rookie year.

There ended up being a lot of 'despites,' however.

Somehow, the Texans' offense never got rolling. Inconsistency at quarterback ended up being a season-long malady, and Hopkins became increasingly less of a factor in the team's game plan the longer the offense struggled. Houston plummeted to an NFL-worst 2-14 record that earned them the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.

Despite their pressing need for a franchise quarterback, the team's management opted to go the 'best available' rout and took South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who may have made the Texans stronger overall, but didn't do anything for the passing game.

Star receiver Andre Johnson was so disgruntled with the Texans' decision not to take a quarterback with their first pick that he's talked about wanting to play elsewhere - and his stated intention to skip Organized Tea Activities and mandatory mini-camp in June is currently a hot top on various Texans' websites and blogs.

Houston eventually took a quarterback - but not until the fourth round, when the Texans nabbed Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, a big, tall, strong-armed passer who posted impressive numbers for the Panthers last season after transferring twice, first from Rutgers and then from Arizona.

Savage ended up starting as a freshman at Rutgers, was injured and played sparingly as a sophomore, and then sat out two seasons before landing at Pitt. He'll compete this season against Case Keenam, T.J. Yates and newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Whoever wins the Texans' starting quarterback job, the team's fresh start under a new head coach is probably good news for Hopkins.

He finished with 52 receptions for 802 yards last season, and earned a spot of Mel Kiper Jr.'s NFL All-Rookie team. But he was targeted just 91 times in 16 games - fewer than half the passes thrown to Johnson.

Better balance in the offense, as well as improving passing accuracy, should give Hopkins an opportunity to emerge as a consistent playmaker for the Texans in 2014-15.

Through a 2-14 season and diminished passing catching chances were certainly not what Hopkins was expecting from his first NFL season, he talked 'team' throughout the Texans' long losing streak.

Hopefully this season, he'll get more of an opportunity to make that team better.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 6

33dtb writes:

Nuk is a class act, but he didn't get any respect at Clemson either as long as Sammy was dresseed out and could stand up....

TigerNE writes:

in response to 33dtb:

Nuk is a class act, but he didn't get any respect at Clemson either as long as Sammy was dresseed out and could stand up....

I remember it very differently. Many of us raved about Nuk, especially against LSU - almost 200 yards - and a couple of times against FSU.

33dtb writes:

in response to TigerNE:

I remember it very differently. Many of us raved about Nuk, especially against LSU - almost 200 yards - and a couple of times against FSU.

Remind me if Sammy played in those games ..????

TigerNE writes:

in response to 33dtb:

Remind me if Sammy played in those games ..????

Yes.

Only exception is the obvious - LSU.

Hopkins had almost 20 TDs in 2012. Everybody couldn't say enough good about him. Year before, with a healthy Sammy, he almost broke 1,000 yards. Sure, he had a dozen or so fewer touches, but I don't remember him getting ignored at all. Especially by coaches and Boyd. He was a go to receiver A LOT.

I think you are in a small group that couldn't or didn't see what Nuk was doing and give him respect.

33dtb writes:

...."Au contraire, I thought Nuk could have set all-time records if Chad and Taj had given him at least as many touches as Sammy, and I believe Sammy will really have to work, for a change, to equal Nuk in the NFL in the long run, because class will eventually tell..

Clemorange writes:

Yeah for the few people that regularly go to clemson games I'm sure we all remember the screams of NNUUUKKKK. Now those of you that watched us on tv, if there was ever a game we were doing well in but you kept hearing the sounds of booing coming from your speakers, well chances are that was us actually screaming NNNUUUUKKKK. I don't remember Sammy having something like that.

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