The SEC is the best conference, right? If you can perform in the SEC, you can probably play in the NFL, right? But what can be said about a guy from the ACC who performs fantastically against SEC opponents?
Meet Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins. In 2012 he hauled in an amazing 1405 yards and 18 touchdowns, both of which ranked in the top four in America. What is most startling about Hopkins is how he started and ended the season, both games against the SEC, both games utterly dominant to the tune of 26 catches, 310 yards, and 3 touchdowns. But as we look back at Hopkins career, it is striking how he repeatedly came through in the clutch against SEC-caliber competition. If we can temporarily pretend that Florida State has an SEC caliber defense—which shouldn’t be too hard—consider Hopkins’ last eight games against ‘SEC defenses.’
In essence, we’ve just created an SEC conference season for DeAndre Hopkins in which he averaged an outrageous stat line of 6.8 catches, 93.8 yards, and .88 touchdowns per game. In the last nine years only 11 SEC wide receivers have averaged 90+ yards per game in a single conference season
|2010||Alshon Jeffery||South Carolina||6.3||102.2||.89|
|2005||Sidney Rice||South Carolina||4.3||92.4||.25|
Anytime you’re on a list with A.J. Green, Robert Meachem, Stevie Johnson, and Julio Jones, you’re doing well. For Hopkins to be ahead of them shows what kind of talent he has. Strictly looking at the on-field production, Hopkins is easily among the three most accomplished wide receivers in this draft class. He reminds me of Hakeem Nicks or A.J. Jenkins in that he is a dominant college receiver who never became a household name. Like those two, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hopkins get picked late in the first round and become the top receiver in the 2013 class. It will be interesting to see how he performs at the Combine and his pro-day. Regardless of what happens between now and August, expect him to be ready for the big lights of the NFL. After all, he has already demonstrated that he can perform his best against the best.
(Want to make your own DeAndre Hopkins comparisons? Do it with this Wide Receiver app!)