The Texans selected Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the 27th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday.
Hopkins (6-1, 214) is the first wide receiver drafted by the Texans in the first round since Andre Johnson in 2003. An early-out junior who turns 21 in June, he ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and had a 36-inch vertical jump.
"He's a very physical receiver, very strong, very good ball skills, catches the ball just naturally, good run after the catch," Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said. "Just a complete player for us.
"As we went through it, he was the guy that I really liked amongst the wide receiver crew. It's a good group, and he was the one that I would prefer that we have. I was holding my breath 'til the end."
Nicknamed "Nuk," Hopkins left Clemson with a school-record 12 100-yard games, 3,020 receiving yards and 27 receiving touchdowns. He ranks second in school history with 206 receptions. As a junior in 2012, he had 82 catches for a school-record 1,405 yards and an ACC-record 18 touchdowns.
"I played defense in high school, so when the ball's in the air, I feel like it's mine," Hopkins said via conference call minutes after being drafted. "I'm a level-headed player... Big moments, my teammates trust me to come to me, and that's just what I do being a football player."
Hopkins started 11 games as a sophomore in 2011, catching 72 passes for 978 yards and five touchdowns. As a freshman, he led Clemson in receiving with 52 catches for 637 yards and four touchdowns. He had 32 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns in three career bowl games, topping 100 yards in each one.
"Especially last year, his route content was very large," Dennison said. "He was productive, and he got better every year… The thing to us that stuck out in our minds was the more you watch him, he's very competitive. He catches the ball in a crowd. It doesn't matter to him; he'll go up and get the ball. And he competes, wears the DBs out. Just physical, and that's what translates… That's what we ask our guys to do."
Hopkins, a native of Central, S.C., will likely compete for a starting job as a rookie. DeVier Posey is coming off a torn Achilles. Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean and Jeff Maehl are the Texans' other wide receivers.
"I really don't have an expectation personally," Hopkins said. "I just want to win a championship. That's my expectation is to come in and help us win championship."