January 25, 2011 - by

The Hopkins Story

Jan. 25, 2011



By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com



Every player has a different story of how they became a Seminole.

From Greg Reid choosing Florida State over the Gators, to Nigel Bradham sticking with his childhood dream to play for the Noles, every story is unique.

Enter Dustin Hopkins, who came out of high school as the number one ranked kicker in the nation. For the golden-toed sophomore from Houston, it came down to a choice between two historic programs.

“My final two were Notre Dame and FSU, and Notre Dame is such a prestigious place as far as academics and football history,” Hopkins said.  “And FSU has awesome athletes, and they had the best run in probably college football history.

“I talked to Coach (Charlie) Weis, and we weren’t seeing eye to eye on some different stuff.  So we both ended up hanging up and right after that conversation, I went in my parents’ bathroom and said, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m going to Florida State,’ and that was it.”

What made it even better was current teammates like Lonnie Pryor, Jacobbi McDaniel, Chris Thompson, and Greg Reid, who were all coming to Florida State, and were after the same goals.

“The guys coming in that class, I knew were awesome athletes and awesome character people, and I knew that we all wanted to turn the program around,” Hopkins said. “We were all willing to put in the work to be successful.

“It was everything from the stands, the people, the war chant, and the kids were a huge part too.

“I love the coaches, then and now.  There was coaching stability in that I knew Coach Fisher would take over at some point, and I would get at least a year or two under Coach Bowden, and so it worked out perfect.”

And for every Seminole who played from 1976-2009, the recruitment process ended with one very special visit from a certain legendary head coach.

“When Coach Bowden came over, I played him in ping pong, and how many people can say they played ping pong with Coach Bowden?  That was my goal, and I smashed him hard,” Hopkins said with a laugh.

“It was a crazy experience, my mom fixed chili for him, you know chili and cornbread, a typical Texas meal I guess.”

Every story is unique, and for Dustin Hopkins, his story is just getting started at Florida State. 

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