Hopkins Ready To Hit Up Fortius Project
Noxubee County’s beloved football program is a mirror image of who 2020 linebacker Tyrese Hopkins is. He is tough, physical, and is accustomed to overcoming the odds.
“It was my sophomore year and a lot of people didn’t believe in me, saying I can’t do the things that upper classmates can do, but I didn’t let that get in my head,” Hopkins told SES Mississippi.
It didn’t take long for Hopkins to show everyone that he belonged in the starting lineup on defense. Last season, he tallied 76 tackles en route to helping his team win their third state championship in four years this past December. His team won the title in dramatic fashion this season, overcoming a 14 point deficit to knock off the previously unbeaten East Central Hornets 45-41. It was one to remember for Hopkins.
“This past season have been great. It showed me how to complete with higher players and help me get to the next level. The special thing was playing on a team with great players and helping the team out to get all the way to the state championship,” Hopkins said. “It means a lot because it brings the community together. When I put that jersey on, it drives me to work harder and play to the best of my abilities.”
Hopkins is coached by one of the most successful and most well respected coaches in the state in Tyrone Shorter, who has left a lasting impact on a lot of players under his reign, including Hopkins.
“He made me step up to be responsible, to do my duties as a man and as a player,” Hopkins said.
The state championship they won last season was one predicted months before by one of their former assistant coaches, James Patterson, who tragically passed away after a brutal fight with cancer. Hopkins and his Tiger teammates made sure to live up to his prediction every snap.
With the Fortius Project at Itawamba Community College coming up, he is looking to polish up skills similar to his role model, former Washington Redskin safety Sean Taylor.
“Coming up when I was young, playing peewee, people always told me that I was the most hard hitting player that they have ever seen. So I look up all the hard hitters on YouTube and I watch Sean Taylor, ever since he’s been in college to the NFL. That is who I would compare myself to,” Hopkins said. “I have excelled on my tackling. I’m getting there on my coverage and really my coverage and my footwork.”
Noxubee County should still have a target on their back headed into 2018, as they usually have over the past decade. That, however, does not change the mind set of such a tradition rich football program.
“This program is well developed and we are looking for to make another run this year,” Hopkins said.
***Photo Courtesy of Jeff Martin (@Jeff_XOS) of XOS Digital