Bulls pick up another speedy commitment
It's hard to tell who will be more excited about USF's incoming recruiting class: Jim Leavitt, or track coach Warren Bye.
The Bulls, continuing to put a priority on speed, picked up an oral commitment Thursday from Derrick Hopkins, a tiny but super-quick receiver and track star from Miami's Monsignor Pace High. Hopkins could make his biggest mark on special teams, as he returned four punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior.
"It came down to Kansas State and South Florida, and I wanted my friends to be able to see me play," said Hopkins, who is 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds. "And I know it's a program on the rise."
How fast is Hopkins? He won the Class 2A state championship last spring in the 200 meters (21.68 seconds), finished second in the 100 (10.83 seconds) and ran on the state champion 4x100 relay (more on that in a bit).
"I like to stay humble, but I'm pretty fast," said Hopkins, who also had football scholarship offers from Iowa State and Florida International, as well as track scholarships offered by LSU, Tennessee and Georgia. He is rated as a two-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
And yes, Hopkins has run against Florida freshman Jeff Demps -- they went head-to-head at last year's Florida Relays in Gainesville. "I had him up until about 65-70 meters, and then he hit another gear," said Hopkins, who ran a 10.43 that day; Demps ran a ridiculous 10.17 seconds.
His personal record is 10.35 seconds, and he said he's ranked as the No. 2 sprinter in the country in both the 100 and 200; he's serious enough about track that he met with Bye during his official visit. He'll join Hillsborough's Lindsey Lamar as perhaps the two fastest players on USF's roster this fall. He was recruited to USF by tight ends coach Larry Scott, who has fared well in the Miami area the past two seasons.
Hopkins actually has family ties to a different Big East school, as his stepfather, Ronald Redmon, was a running back at Pittsburgh from 1988-90, catching a touchdown pass in the 1989 John Hancock Bowl. Hopkins said he was not recruited by Pittsburgh.
USF is also heavily recruiting two of his Pace teammates, receiver Sterling Griffin and defensive back Kayvon Webster. Webster is a Miami commitment, but all three visited USF's campus together two weekends ago. Griffin and Webster were also on the state champion 4x100 relay, which won with a time of 41.18 seconds.
"I'm going to try to recruit them, but it's their decision, and I just want them to be happy wherever they choose," Hopkins said.