Dec. 7, 2011
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If Dustin Hopkins has it his way, he'll be sitting in the exact same seat next year.
If he is fortunate to be positioned in the same spot 365 days from now, it means he will have had another terrific year kicking for the Florida State football team.
Hopkins sat down with the media Wednesday at Disney World's Boardwalk Hotel as part of a process that will lead up to Thursday night's Hope Depot College Football Awards. FSU's strong-legged, third-year kicker is one of three finalists for the annual Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award
Whether or not Hopkins brings the Groza Trophy back to Tallahassee is yet to be determined. But was is guaranteed is that Hopkins has another season of eligibility to earn a return trip to Disney.
"It's going to be good to have this type of experience under my belt and I will continue to work to outperform what I have already done," Hopkins said.
Here's a quick Q&A from our conversation Wednesday night:
Hopkins: Coach Gran has been a big factor in mine and Shawn's development. Not just on the field but in becoming a better man, too. We are really good in a lot of areas on special teams and he has done a great job in his two years."
Seminoles.com: Let's go back to before you came to Florida State. When did you start kicking?
Hopkins: "During Pee Wee football, the coaches were like, 'Who can kick?' I played soccer so they said, 'You're it; you're the guy.' Ever since then I would play a position and kick for my team and do both duties until really my freshman year at college."
Seminoles.com: What other positions did you play?
Hopkins: "I played safety and corner. The atmosphere when I got to college was obviously different but for me coming off the bench cold was a change. I was used to playing defense and kicking before coming to FSU."
Seminoles.com: When did you know that you had a future kicking the football?
Hopkins: "My freshman year we were playing on the JV field and I hit 48- and 42-yard field goals in the game and I thought that was pretty irregular for a freshman-level game. At that point I was like hey, 'Maybe I can turn this into something.'"
Seminoles.com: During your recruitment, I know you were down to a final two of Florida State and Notre Dame (FSU's upcoming Champs Sports Bowl opponent.) Can you talk about why you ultimately picked the Seminoles?
Hopkins: "I just felt the most comfortable at FSU. I knew it was the right fit for me. I couldn't be more pleased with my decision to this point just living in such a great place like Tallahassee. The community has really embraced me and has shown tremendous support."