From his teammates.
From his Pro Bowl coach.
From his opponents.
And from his quarterback Russell Wilson, on Team Irvin's first offensive play from scrimmage.
"We knew we were going to throw it deep from the get-go," Hopkins said. "I was just hoping Russ could get it there, and he did."
Later, Hopkins caught a 7-yard strike for a score in the fourth quarter, hauling in a touchdown pass from Jameis Winston. It gave Team Irvin a 49-21 lead, and Hopkins would finish with three catches on the day for 71 yards. His side eventually triumphed to the tune of 49-27.
The week in Hawaii saw Hopkins turn the heads of many from around the NFL. His coach for the week, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, was blown away by the third-year pro. Irvin called Hopkins an “incredible” wide receiver, and said the future is limitless for him.
“We don’t know what the ceiling is,” Irvin said. “You see the skillset, where he can catch footballs from anyplace in the world. There is no telling what the ceiling can be. He’ll be rewriting a lot of records in the NFL.”
Hopkins finished 2015 with 111 catches for 1,521 yards. He also pulled in a touchdown pass a franchise-record 11 times this season.
Irvin was especially impressed that Hopkins has flourished despite fluctuation at the quarterback position in each of his three NFL seasons. The former Cowboy formed a lethal pass-and-catch duo in the 1990’s with fellow Hall of Famer Troy Aikman. Irvin said whenever Aikman was out due to injury, his confidence sagged and his play suffered.
“I would not be able to do it,” Irvin said. “Whenever you brought in another quarterback, I played with a lot less confidence. What he does is just flat out incredible.”
As a rookie, Hopkins played with three different quarterbacks. In 2014, he caught a pass from four different signal callers. In 2015, he saw
Defending the former Clemson Tiger is a tall task, as Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman explained.
“He’s a dog,” Sherman said. “He goes after it every play. He brings it every play. Every down. He’s a very unique talent. He’s explosive in and out of his breaks. He puts his own flavor on his routes. It’s a
The challenge now for Hopkins is to rest. He’ll keep in shape in the leadup to the mid-April start of the offseason conditioning program. But he’ll also try to clear his mind.
“Hang out with the people who support me most,” Hopkins said. “I might take a vacation or a cruise. I’m not sure yet. Hopefully I can make a trip overseas somewhere.”
The Pro Bowl is scheduled to come back to Honolulu in 2017, but the NFL move it elsewhere as long as they do so before March 31 of this year. But whether it’s here in Hawaii, or elsewhere in the years to come, Hopkins can count on making many more trips to the annual NFL all-star game.