Michigan's Stephen Hopkins 'overweight,' could be pushed at fullback by Thomas Rawls
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Especially if he shows up for spring camp overweight, and a budding Thomas Rawls is taking snaps behind him.
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said on Thursday afternoon he likes what Hopkins has done through six spring practices — the seventh workout was slated for later in the day — but emphasized he wants the junior to "continue to grow from a maturity standpoint."
"He's probably a little overweight right now, for what we like him," Hoke said. "When I say that, maybe the weight would be OK, if it was all good body weight."
Hoke didn't say what Hopkins weighs. He is listed by Michigan as standing 6-foot, 228 pounds, but said in December he played last season at about 238 pounds.
The Double Oak, Texas, native said he asked to be moved to fullback last season after Fitz Toussaint and Vincent Smith asserted themselves as the top two tailbacks. An injury to then-fullback John McColgan created an opening in the lineup, and Hopkins never relinquished it.
Hopkins finished the season with 11 carries for 43 yards and one catch for 28 yards. But his hold on the position isn't resolute.
When asked who were the biggest surprises of the spring, Hoke first mentioned Rawls. The Flint native played sparingly as a true freshman tailback last year, but coaches have been high on him since he first arrived on campus.
Rawls still is taking most of his snaps at running back, but with Toussaint and Smith back next season, Hoke acknowledged he's tinkering with Rawls at fullback. He likes what he sees.
"He’s a pretty tough guy running the football," Hoke said. "He has to take care of the football a little better."
Rawls had 13 carries for 80 yards last year.
Sophomore walk-on Joe Kerridge also is getting snaps at fullback.