Westlake junior Tommy Hopkins has given his verbal commitment to UConn.
The 6-foot-6, 298-pound lineman received his first BCS-level offer from UConn last Friday. More offers were anticipated for Hopkins, but coach Rich Hennessy said Hopkins felt it was the perfect fit.
Here’s the full story behind Hopkins’ commitment:
Like the leaves, Tommy Hopkins’ body changes with the season. The Westlake junior has already gained nearly 20 pounds from working out since basketball season ended in February.
Now 6-foot-6 and 298 pounds, the ever-growing lineman had a long list of college suitors. Two Division I programs had already offered scholarships, and many more were expected to follow. But there was one school — the University of Connecticut — that Hopkins wanted all along.
So Hopkins, who had already visited 10 schools, needed little time to contemplate his decision after UConn offered a scholarship last Friday. He has given his oral commitment to play football for the Huskies in the fall of 2013.
“I didn’t need to wait for any other offers,” said Hopkins, who also received an offer from Bucknell. “I’ve visited pretty much every other school that recruited me, and I knew my No. 1 choice was UConn.”
That’s No. 1 among a list of quality Division I programs along the East Coast. He had attracted interest from more than a dozen BCS-level programs, and had made unofficial visits to Syracuse, Penn State, Temple, Massachusetts, Boston College, Duke, North Carolina State and North Carolina.
Hopkins visited UConn during his spring break. He’s also been there for summer camp, a regular-season game and a spring game. During one trip, he even sat in on an offensive line meeting.
“I really liked everything about it,” he said. “The coaches, the players, the facilities, the campus. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
Like many of the big schools recruiting Hopkins, UConn expressed some reservations about the level of competition he had faced in high school. He put those fears to rest on April 22 at the Rivals.com/VTO Sports New Jersey Elite 100 at Piscataway (N.J.) High School.
“I went against some really good kids,” he said. “(The UConn coaches) decided they didn’t have to worry about me.”
Hopkins will visit UConn again on Friday. He had been scheduled to attend several camps this spring and summer but now will attend only UConn camp in June.