June 15, 2011

Tide still leads for Texas DL after visit

When Donald Hopkins received an offer from the University of Alabama last month, the Crimson Tide immediately became the new favorite for the Texas defensive lineman.

A visit to Tuscaloosa this week only helped reinforce his feelings about Alabama.

"It went good," Hopkins said. "I liked it a lot, the environment. They seem like they take real good care of their players, and Coach (Nick) Saban was real nice.

"He was just telling us how they run things at Alabama and how stuff works there. He told me not to jump to any decisions, but wait until I know where I feel right at."

The 6-foot-2, 275-pound nose tackle brought his high school head coach, Allen Haire, with him on the trip, and Haire also came away impressed with the UA program and coaching staff.

"It's tops in the countries," Haire said. "You can tell what their emphasis is on, and that's taking care of their players and giving them the best opportunity to be successful, not only as a football player but as an individual."

On his visit, Hopkins participated in the Crimson Tide's camp on Monday where he worked first-hand with UA defensive line coach Chris Rumph. He got a chance to show off his abilities in person to both Rumph and Saban.

"I worked with Coach Rumph, and he showed me some new techniques and stuff," Hopkins said. "We just went over some drills and what not. Coach Saban said he really liked me at the camp, that I looked real good, and that's what they were looking for."

For Hopkins, Alabama is still the leader after his visit, but Saban told him to wait until July before making any decisions. The Crimson Tide head coach wants to make sure Hopkins knows exactly where he wants to go first.

"I think Alabama's still in the lead," Haire said. "For a kid, you just want him to feel comfortable. You don't want him to regret his decision, so you don't want him to rush into anything."

In addition to Alabama, Hopkins has also visited Baylor, Missouri and SMU. He has plans to visit Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and possibly Kansas before making a decision sometime in July.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at [email protected]

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