NIU key player: Jasmin Hopkins

By Tony Osborne

Everyone should know by now that Jasmin Hopkins is no fluke when it comes being a productive running back.

Last season, Hopkins averaged over nine yards per carry as a transfer from Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.

Hopkins ranked third on the team with 366 rushing yards as a backup to Vern Smith Award winner Chad Spann.

After Spann left, Hopkins had a lot of pressure on him heading into the season opener last Saturday night against Army.

“He really took on kind of a leadership role,” said NIU starting center Scott Wedige. “It’s his time to shine; he had a chip on his shoulder, and he displayed that [against Army] and I’m happy he’s behind [the offensive line] for this year.”

The Stanley, N.C. native started where he left off from last season as he racked up 138 yards on the ground on only 14 touches.

The running game is vital for the success of the no-huddle scheme if it works well for the Huskies, as it opens up the passing game for starting quarterback Chandler Harnish.

Hopkins’ speed and elusiveness coming out of the backfield makes him an ideal fit for NIU’s no-huddle offense.

The Huskies coaching staff tends to rotate its running backs in order to keep opposing defenses off balance, as well as keeping its own backs fresh throughout the course of the game.

But there’s no question as to which running back NIU looks toward the most during the game.

“Jas is definitely our feature back,” said Wedige.