Clear Lake kicker commits to Fla. State

February 6, 2009 7:49:43 PM PST
National signing day is always a big day and out at Clear Lake High School, one of the nine Falcons signing Wednesday was kicker Dustin Hopkins. With the stroke of a pen, Hopkins became a Florida State Seminole. "It feels good just to get something out of the way you have been working so hard for. It's kind of like getting a monkey off your back, so it's good," said Dustin.

With that hard work comes pride and Dustin's parents, Jim and Karen Hopkins, are obviously very proud of their son.

"It's a happy and sad time. It's the end of high school, but it's a beginning," said Karen.

His dad was beaming too. "I'm proud of him the way he handles himself every day. During this process, he's been interviewed, everybody wants to talk to him and he always takes time to talk. The manner in which he handled himself is incredible," said Jim.

Hopkins is the top-rated kicker in the country. He's both accurate and he has leg strength. Dustin connected on a 49-yard field goal this season. He said he kicked a "wind aided" 65-yarder in practice and he tried this 64-yard attempt into a breeze against Dickinson only to come up just short.

Dustin knew when he stepped on campus that FSU was the right fit.

"I visited there and it just felt right. It felt God was pointing me in that direction and that that is where I need to be," said Dustin.

As well as being an All District kicker, Dustin played cornerback and he tells us he'll miss playing defense and he hopes he'll get in on a few tackles at Florida State.

Besides excelling on the field, Hopkins is very active off it. He's in the top quarter of his class, a member of the National Honor Society, his senior class vice president, he's in the senior musical and runs track.

With all these extracurricular activities, Clear Lake Principal Dr. Christopher Moran said Dustin is a positive influence on campus.

"He brings energy, humor, he's morally straight at school. We've enjoyed him very much at school as a student and I think the underclassmen look up to him," said Dr. Moran.

Clear Lake Assistant Principal Michelle Froneberger agreed, "I see that Dustin will put academics first. He knows what he's got to do to make it, then comes the athletics and the social part."

Also at the signing were both sets of Dustin's grandparents, Joann and Harry Guss, as well as Paul and Jerry Hopkins.

They all know his leg is powerful, but they said that's not his strongest quality.

"His personality. He just makes people laugh. I think the main thing we'll miss is his personality. He's just a light that shines when he comes in," said Joann Guss.

That light is off to Tallahassee and he will be playing for legendary coach Bobby Bowden who sits just one win behind Joe Paterno on the all-time wins list.

Coach Bowden paid the Hopkins family a visit at their home last week.

"As he was leaving, coach Bowden whispered in my ear, 'Don't worry we'll take care of your boy.' It was very reassuring," said Karen.

Dustin's dad also praised the FSU staff. "I was very impressed with all their coaches. They have been nothing but great," said Jim.

The whole family was so impressed, they told us they just might follow Dustin to Tallahassee.

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