Editor’s Note: Image provided by Hayden Hopkins
Though no football was played this fall, the UMHB coaching staff was active on the recruiting trail and picked up commitments from several talented high school players in the class of 2021. China Spring High School standout offensive lineman Hayden Hopkins made the decision to join the Cru this upcoming fall, committing on December 27. Starting at center this past season, Hopkins was a force in China Spring’s run-first offense, and will be one of the best run blockers in the incoming class. True To The Cru caught up with Hopkins to hear why he made the decision to commit to UMHB, and what he is looking forward to about his time at UMHB.
Q: What drew you to UMHB?
HH: It all started before I even had an offer at all. I came out to watch one of the scrimmages this past fall because my quarterback at China Spring, Major Bowden, is UMHB quarterback Tommy Bowden’s little brother. We were watching and I started talking to some of the coaches, some of the kids, and I’d never seen anything like it before. I loved the stadium, this area, and how close it was to home. We got to go on kind of a campus tour. Tommy showed us everything. It was one of the nicest college facilities I’ve ever seen. One of the coaches started talking to us about how much they win and the traditions they have at UMHB. It was awesome to me, unlike any other college I’ve ever heard of. Two weeks after that UMHB offered, and I came on my visit a couple weeks later. Coming on the visit kind of solidified it for me that [UMHB] was the place to go.”
Q: You played center for China Spring. Watching your highlights, you looked very good as a blocker in the run game. Do you feel like that is one of your strongest areas?
HH: “At China Spring, we ran the ball about 90 percent of the time. I still think I’m good at my pass blocking, but I think my blocking in the run game, because of that, has taken a step forward. I got to work on it a lot.”
Q: Is there anything that you’re hoping to improve on as you head into this coming fall and you’re first season at UMHB?
HH: “Honestly, there’s not really anything specific. I’m just trying to get to that next level, and get my body to the next level so that I’m ready to play, and ready to dominate at that next level. I don’t think I’m there right now because it takes a lot. I’m working everyday to try to figure out how to get there.”
Q: It might be a little early to ask this, but do you have any goals you want to accomplish at UMHB, whether it be in this upcoming year, or just in your college career overall?
HH: I’m just trying to come in, and learn the offense. Everybody wants to start, but that’s one of my goals. It may not be my freshman year, or sophomore year, but I know that I can make it happen, I just have to work for it.”