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Posted on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 8 p.m.

RB Stephen Hopkins among Michigan football recruits enrolling early; Marvin Robinson waiting on eligibility

By Dave Birkett

Earlier this season, sometime after he committed to Michigan, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus running back Stephen Hopkins got an email from a rival Big Ten coach saying he wouldn’t fit into Michigan’s spread offense and might want to reconsider his commitment.

The e-mail ended with a question: Should we keep recruiting you?

“I’m like, ‘Nah, I’m good,’” Hopkins said. “I (visited) a lot of traditional powerhouses and this is the best combination of coaches, the fans, academics. Nobody beats them in academics really, except for maybe Stanford, but their football program is not on the same level as Michigan’s football program. Just the combination of everything was too good to pass up.”

Hopkins, who plans to major in business finance and hopes to be a sports agent one day, is 1 of at least 6 Michigan recruits expected on campus when classes begin Wednesday. Receivers Jeremy Jackson, Jerald Robinson and Ricardo Miller, offensive lineman Christian Pace and running back Austin White also will enroll this week. Safety Marvin Robinson is awaiting word on his eligibility, and quarterback Devin Gardner still is trying to graduate early.

(Complete list of 2010 Michigan recruits).

At 6-foot and 235 pounds, Hopkins isn’t your typical spread running back. By comparison,  Vincent Smith, who enrolled early and played as a true freshman last year, is 5-foot-6 and 158 pounds.

But Hopkins watched with interest the role Brandon Minor played for Michigan this year and believes he can fill the big-back void as a true freshman.

Minor led the Wolverines with 502 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns in 2009, but was hampered by leg and shoulder injuries. When healthy, he was far and away Michigan’s best running back.

“I think I’m a pretty strong runner just like Brandon Minor is,” Hopkins said. “I’m a little bit bigger than he is, but I think I have a lot of the same attributes he does running the ball. He gets tough yardage, breaks first contact, gets a lot of yards after contact. I think I’m a lot like that.”

Hopkins said he ran for about 1,350 yards as a senior and broke former Purdue running back Steven Ennis’ school rushing record with 4,960 yards for his career. He also played some linebacker for this first time as a prep.

“I had a pretty good season,” said Hopkins, rated among the top 10 running backs in the Dallas area by the Dallas Morning News. “My numbers weren’t as high because we had some more running backs that could help carry the load so I didn’t have to get the ball as much, so that helped me. It helped me have better games. It helped me contribute more.”

At Michigan, Hopkins said he expects to contribute next fall in a wide-open backfield.

With Minor and second-leading rusher Carlos Brown gone and Smith coming off a torn ACL, Mike Shaw, Mike Cox and redshirt freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint will be the only backs ahead of Hopkins on the depth chart this spring.

Hopkins said he wants to lose 15 pounds and prove to everyone he fits in Michigan’s system.

“I have an opportunity to come up this spring and show the coaches I can get on the field early,” he said.

Robinson still hoping to enroll early

Safety Marvin Robinson said Monday he should learn sometime Tuesday if he will be eligible to enroll early.

Robinson, who took 3 classes over the summer in an attempt to graduate in December, said the holdup stems with 2 classes he took last semester.

"Most likely things are going to work out where I can go up there tomorrow," Robinson said.

Even if things don't, Robinson said he's firm in his commitment and will sign with Michigan in February.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 11:09 p.m.

I've watched this kid every game he's played in varsity football (myself being in the marching band at the school) and he is incredible. i cannot tell you how many times he has appeared down only to see him running out of the back of a pile. One of my favorite football players to ever watch. He gets his yards without fancy shake n' bake moves, only forward motion and running over defenders. Being from the Detroit area and following Michigan religiously as much as i can i know this is the guy for the job. I've seen him get dragged down by an open field tackle so few times, and he's a consistent yard gainer. That's what Michigan's been missing these past few years with Minor's injuries. those 5 yards on first down and those extra inches on thirds and fourths. In my opinion this is the man for Michigan.


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 1:21 a.m.

Im glad to see many RR supporters, he needs alot cuz its hard to change a whole program from one style to another. Hopkins looks like a brandon minor, could be better (no offense to brandon minor). If he gains speed he could be a very dangerous runningback, speed/power packed in one player. Surprised not that many elite schools tried to recruit this guy. Hes probably going to be those players who weren't highly recruited an later become All-Americans. Looks like the spot is filled for Brandon Minor. WIsh Brandon Minor luck in the NFL i have a feeling he'll do great. RB looks great next year anyways without hopkins with great speed and lil power but hopkins could balance it out more so UM looks very bright next year. Good job in recruiting RR, Im behind u wit ur other supporters. GO BLUE!!!!


Wed, Jan 6, 2010 : 12:32 a.m.

Why do u many of u trash RR. He does know how to recruit, and he knows how to win, jus give him time and UM will be back as a Nat. Powerhouse. FOr u ppl who also trash Lloyd it is shaming to hear u guys trash him. HE was a great coach who won a Nat champ. and recruited great players. Hopkins looks like a promising player who could do wonders for Um short yard situations. And many other recruits look like they have some great talent. This is inly RR second full reruting class and is tryn to change the whole UM system from pro to spread so it'll take a while till RR is comfortable the whole roster fits his system. Devin Gardener looks very promising and could be a future OSU killer =P. Cornelius jones seems like the pat white kind of player RR loves. Marvin Robinson is filling up S/LB position which is a huge plus. And Wilson, parker, knight, grimes, murphey, and mathis could be huge pluses to UM. if they all commit the future for the secondary is looking really strong, and so is everything else but the secondary is what needs improvement. I predict 9-3 atleast, Possibly a Rose Bowl appearance. UM is going to surprise the College World next year. GOT TO HAVE FAITH IN RR. GO BLUE!!!!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

A BIG BACK for the Big Ten. Looks like RR knows what he's doing to me. Keep Recruiting RR, I'm behind you. Some of know what you are trying to accomplish here. Michigan will be a powerhouse again and for a long time.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 12:46 p.m.

I loved that opening quote from Hopkins: exactly the kind of kid we want at Michigan. We are, and always will remain, at elite status with an attitude like that. Go Blue!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:32 a.m.

I wish there were more defensive players that were enrolling early as that is the side of the ball we need the most help next year.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 10:25 p.m.

A great pick up. I'm sure he will play a lot next year in short yardage situations. By 2011 he'll probably be sharing many of the carries. It's great to have a full stable of RB! An enrolling early may free up more spots for all the talented kids who have decided they wanted to play here! Wow, earlier I had thought we would be lucky to finish around 15th in the country but with many of these 4 star recruits wanting to joint the team we may have a top 10 class after all!!!! Watch out in a couple years. UM will be a real Juggernaut once this young defense improves!!!

Sean T.

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

Looks like RR is really trying to save his job.......Thank Goodness! This my friends, is a "REAL" Big Ten RB and I must say that I give RR a "thumbs up" for this recruit.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

I'm guessing they'll go 6-6 next year...that MIGHT be enough to get another year for RR but they're gunna have to pour it on and win some big games late in the year. Favorable H/A schedule too.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

Redceder(I hope the misspelling is on purpose), Lloyd Carr won 5 Big10 titles in 13 years as head coach at Michigan. Your team (Michigan State) since joining the Big10 in 1953 has 6 titles. Once you and walmart graduate from middle school, see if you can obtain some tape on the Lloyd Carr era.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

@walmartwolverine = cheapfan...go change your name to walmartbuckfan...what a troll!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 6:42 p.m.

Kid looks strong alright. But seriously youtube video makers...can't you just leave the crappy music off for once? At least it wasn't death metal.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 6:10 p.m.

Red, I thought it looked bad "IF" Braylon was dissing. It does not help the program if he intends to say things like that. What if a recruit was watching and remotely starts to re-think about Mchigan.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 5:12 p.m.

There is a storm brewing in Ann Arbor baby...building, building, building and I love it! Go Blue


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

Hopkins sounds like he has a good head on his shoulder and I suspect, with that size, he may be able to play early. Last year was Rod's 1st complete recruiting class that was all his. This is his second class and it looks to be very good as well. I am glad we have 7 early commitments. Lloyd Carr hardly ever got early commitments. I am glad to see Coach Rod getting some of these kids to graduate early. GO BLUE!


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

hahaha nice video clip, I loved it! Stephen looks like a beast and it looks like he has folowed Michigan with his comparison to Brandon Minor. I can see the same comparisons, he should get faster and dynamic once he hits spring training and the workouts. Glad to see you on board Stephen. Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing you put a hurting on the rest of the Big Ten. Welcome aboard.


Mon, Jan 4, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

Spoken like a true "fan" walmartwolverine. I'm sure you and all the other naysayers will be the first to celebrate when RR wins the national championship. Real fans are supportive even during dire times.