Hopkins gives NIU a change of pace


Jasmin Hopkins gives NIU a change of pace from other running backs, Chad Spann and Cameron Bell.

By Jimmy Johnson

Jasmin Hopkins caught the eye of the NIU football program after shredding the junior college circuit.

Hopkins’ 3,181 yards in two seasons at Fort Scott Community College paid off and was one Huskies top recruits from their 2010 class.

Here’s a look into what Hopkins totaled in his career before arriving at NIU and what he’s done on the field so far as a Huskie.

• Despite his nimble physique at 5’9″, 174 pounds, he showed he could carry the ball in major doses with a total of 600 carries at FSCC.

• Major contributor in the Greyhounds’ runner-up 2009 season when they qualified for nationals.

• In Hopkins’ final season at FSCC, the running back ran for 1,931 yards with 18 touchdowns which earned him the JUCO National Player of the Year award.

• Also given the Jayhawk Conference Player of the year award.

• Has played sparingly through four games with NIU with 15 carries on 90 yards while averaging about 23 yards a game on the ground.

• Made an immediate impact in his debut, against Iowa State, by hauling in a six-yard reception with five carries for 22 yards.

• Put the trick in trick play by completing his first career touchdown pass to Landon Cox for 19-yards during NIU’s 28-22 loss to Illinois.

• Possesses impressive speed, which has earned him some time at returning kickoffs.

Hopkins’ take on the transition from junior college to Division I football: “Basically I’m just getting a feel for it. Everything’s going a whole lot faster. [I’m] learning as I go and mainly, it’s all about technique with this [level]. Junior college you just go with the flow off of your athletic [ability]. Here you have a whole lot more technique.”

NIU offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover analysis of Hopkins’ role in the offense: “Well, I think the greatest thing about Jaz is that he’s a great change of pace [running back]. Chad [Spann] is a real pounder and of course a guy like Cameron Bell, he’s a big back whose going to grind it out and he’s going to get up in there for the tough yards, and Jaz is so elusive. I think [he keeps] the defense on their heels because they don’t know if they’re going to get Chad, the pounder [in Cameron Bell] or if they are going to get [Jasmin who] has the chance to make a big play every time he touches the ball. We love having him in our offense but our biggest problem right now is just finding enough footballs to go around because we do have a talented group back there.”