On April 26, 2013, DeAndre Hopkins took the podium for the first time as a Houston Texan. The first-round draft pick had no idea where he would end up, but he certainly didn't expect to be at NRG Stadium.
"I only had two workouts -the Rams at the time and I forgot the other team - but the Texans didn't talk to me, never showed interest," Hopkins said Tuesday on Texans Radio. "When I got drafted here it was a surprise because it was a team that I didn't meet with or didn't work out for, so when I got drafted here, it was a big surprise for me."
Hopkins was also unsure of when he would be selected. After all, he was not an invitee to the NFL Draft in New York City. Projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick, Hopkins didn't mind. Instead, he watched the draft with family and friends at home in Clemson, South Carolina.
"My mindset, I didn't really care where I got drafted because honestly, at Clemson, I was looked at as the No. 2 receiver," Hopkins said. "You know, Sammy Watkins was the premier receiver until the last game of my college career where he didn't play."
After Watkins left the game early with an ankle injury, Hopkins torched a top-ranked LSU defense in the 2012 Chick-Fil-a-Bowl. Hopkins caught delivered a two-touchdown performance, recording 13 receptions for 191 yards. Hopkins finished his collegiate career with a touchdown in 10 consecutive games, an Atlantic Coast Conference record.
As a true junior, Hopkins had a decision to make. Would he declare early for the NFL Draft or remain for his final season with the Tigers? According to Hopkins, the decision was an easy one.
"I knew Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant were going to be seniors and I knew those guys had NFL talent," Hopkins said. "At Clemson, I felt like I did all I could do for that university and for that city growing up there. That's my No. 1 sports team, that's where I grew up at, that's what I grew up watching. So, it wasn't hard for me to leave that place. I knew I left that place giving it all I got."
The Texans selected Hopkins with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. In his four seasons, Hopkins has the second most catches (317) and third most receiving yards (4,487) in NFL history for a player 24 years old or younger.
The 2017 NFL Draft takes place Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Philadelphia. The Texans currently hold the following picks (overall):
Round 1: 25th
Round 2: 57th
Round 3: 89th
Round 4: 130th and 142nd (compensatory pick from Cleveland Browns)
Round 5: 169th
Round 7: 243rd
WR DeAndre Hopkins--from Clemson to the Texans--is featured here in photos.