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Kicking Things Off with Ben Hopfinger

88 comments

This fall, St. Thomas Aquinas kicker Ben Hopfinger (6’0, 165) will walk-on at the University of Miami. Hopfinger is known for his booming kickoffs, placing 30 of his 34 attempts into the end zone. He was also 12-for-12 on Point After Touchdowns (PAT) last year.  Being behind one of the nation’s most highly sought after kickers didn’t provide many opportunities, but Hopfinger took advantage of his chances, becoming a kickoff specialist, and earning an invitation to Coral Gables. With the coaching staff wanting to lighten K/P Matt Bosher’s load, Hopfinger has an excellent chance to kickoff for the Hurricanes this season.

Hailing from one of the top high school football programs in the country, Hopfinger will join Michael Irvin and Leonard Hankerson, among others, and fellow classmates Keion Payne, Brandon Linder, and Jermaine Barton as Raiders who have attended the University of Miami. “Playing for St. Thomas Aquinas has been a blessing. It’s one of the premiere programs in the country. The talent on this team is remarkable. The talent in South Florida is superior, and it prepares us well for the next level.”

“Kicking off is what I like most. I had more opportunities in high school to do that. I worked more on kickoffs throughout the year because that was what I was asked to do, and I knew that was my ticket to college. Miami told me that they would like Bosher to do field goals and punts, because kicking off wears out your leg over the course of the season. When you do all three, that’s tough. If I can go down there and execute kickoffs like I’ve been doing, I feel like I have a great chance of getting some playing time.”

Hopfinger explained his recruitment to Miami. “I didn’t have many other options. Illinois State offered a partial. Miami (OH) was looking at me, but they never pulled the trigger (on an offer). North Dakota State came in late, but they took someone else. I feel that I can play at Miami, and I want to get a good education, too. As far as education and athletics, my family and I felt like Miami was the best fit for me and my future.”

Miami really didn’t turn up the heat on Hopfinger until the first half of last season. “I went with Jermaine Barton to the Georgia Tech game. After that game, the staff contacted me. I stayed in touch them, and met them on the field after the Oklahoma game. The coaches stayed on me after that. There was no other school that showed me that much interest, and ultimately, my decision was already made.”

I inquired about Hopfinger’s feelings regarding the negativity surrounding this recruiting class in the media. “People get caught up in the stars, but they really don’t mean anything. Coach Shannon told me he’s looking for the right guys. I’ve been a ‘Canes fan all my life, and UM has had plenty of five-star prospects that didn’t pan out. There are tons of three and four-star guys playing NFL ball right now. It doesn’t really matter about stars. What matters is the individual and what he’s willing to work for, his character and heart.”

He also discussed the transition from kicking off a tee (in high school) for place kicking, versus kicking off-the-ground. “You have to get used to it. The tee allows more room for error. Off-the-ground, you have to get a good solid hit on the sweet spot. Right now, I’m kicking fine, just like I did off a tee. I’m getting stronger and that makes a difference. My farthest field goal off-the-ground is 60 yards, in practice. My farthest in a game was 40, in the USA All-Star Game.”

Being a lifelong fan of the program, I had to ask him about what he thought the future holds for the Miami Hurricanes. “We have good things coming. I think when Coach Shannon signed his contract extension, that helped Miami tremendously. We know, as players, he’s invested in this program. We have a really good group of guys coming in with tons of talent. If we can put this talent together, we can make a serious run for the ACC Championship, and perhaps a National Championship. But first, we have to take care of the ACC.”

We thank Ben for taking the time to interview with Eye of the Hurricane and we look forward to seeing him orange and green in the fall!

  1. avatar
    rejuvaphan says:

    Looking forward to those end zone kicks omg can’t wait!

  2. avatar
    rejuvaphan says:

    Wait? I was 1st?

  3. avatar
    rejuvaphan says:

    Perhaps with a kicker like Hopfinger, we win at least a couple other games. Some of those kick off returns were deadly in the last few years.

  4. avatar
    shwarma5 says:

    Cav – the SEC has bigger TV contracts and better bowl tie ins. Not advocating the SEC just saying if the offer is extended, I am very interested to see how Miami would respond.

  5. Shwarma, I would be, too.

    The SEC would be very lucrative, but UF AD Jeremy Foley has already been quoted saying he would block FSU and UM…

  6. avatar
    Captain Optimist says:

    MM01, nice scoop once again. I’m a little surprised other schools weren’t interested in Hop. Maybe he got lost in the shade of what’s his face. A kid kicking off into the end-zone should always draw a premium. Welcome Aboard Ben!!

    Shwarm, that’s what I was missing. But if the SEC expands wouldn’t that dilute the overall per-team payout??

    Rejuvaphan, we’d definitely win a few more games and put our defense in better position in the games we already won.

    Este, you think FSU beats OU? I’m not so sure. Jimbo’s offense is less and less impressive every time I see it. I think Bob will be able to handle it. Should be a good game though. Probably a shootout.

  7. avatar
    Captain Optimist says:

    Foley’s no fool. Let him have what he wants. haha Their days as the top dog in the state are numbered anyway. Who gives a rat’s azz? hahahaha

  8. avatar
    Doc Ibis says:

    If you think about it Shwarm, the ESPN deal is just a little bit short of the SEC deal and its 3 years shorter… The big difference is that Fox gave them that supplemental deal for like 800 million I think… Thats why they get so much money… If the ACC gets a supplemental deal for half a million, we’ll be alright!!

  9. bg, he doesn’t punt. I asked him during the interview. He told me that he wished he had, now…

  10. avatar
    LyquidEnigma says:

    Great interview MM01

  11. great interview..

  12. Ben’s a great guy. Very smart, articulate. Had lots to say.

    UM is lucky he wants to be a Hurricane. Thanks Ben, and Go Canes!

  13. I can’t wait to talk to the next St. Thomas Aquinas recruit!

    When we spoke, I could tell he had education in public speaking. There were no “uhs”, or, “you know what I mean?” He came across very well educated and I was VERY impressed by this young man.

    Glad he’s on our team. Wieclaw, look out. He wants your job…

  14. avatar
    Esteban says:

    nice interview Mike.

    and Cav, i think FSU could put up a lot of points on OU. of course OU could put up a lot against FSU, but I like FSU’s OL better than OU’s.

  15. I appreciate all the kind words… glad U all enjoyed the interview.

    But I have to give credit to Ben. He was 95% of the article. I ask questions, I report the answers.

  16. the other 5% to JSQ, for pointing me in his direction…

    Teamwork. Nice job, JSQ.

  17. I talked to two guys last night.

    Finishing fast, before June 28. Bringin’ it as best I can…

    … maybe I can squeeze a few more. bg1906, I have a request…

  18. avatar
    hurricanedave69 says:

    great interview Mike. I saw him kick against Cincy Elder at Paul Brown Stadium 2 years ago,, what a leg.Every kick into or out of the end zone! I am amazed that he didn’t get more offers. Makes you wonder sometimes what the so called experts actually know. It’s not like he was hidden in some obscure program, I live in the Cincy area and I saw him play.

  19. More info for anyone that ever questioned why we weren’t recruiting Demar Dorsey.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/football/news/story?id=5261493

  20. avatar
    Captain Optimist says:

    but I like FSU’s OL better than OU’s.

    >>>>

    True, true.

    It should be a “barn-bruner.” haha

  21. avatar
    Captain Optimist says:

    The Under Armour All-American defensive back was committed to Florida for much of his senior season before decommitting and eventually switching to Michigan on national signing day. He is the No. 12 player overall in the Class of 2010.

    >>>

    BG, funny how none of the local two-bit hacks talked about this the way they talked about I-Mac and “the one that got away.”

    His lifestyle doesn’t sound like a Meeechigan Man to me.

  22. Bg, etc., what do you think of DE Aaron Lynch?

  23. Awesome job with the Hopfinger interview, Mike!!!

    Can you believe this is a WALK ON?!?!

    I really like this kid!

  24. What the F is wrong with that Vander sloot kid??

    Dude get’s away with one murder then goes and does it again.

    Cmon son!! Learn how to work.

    GO CANEZ!!!!!

  25. Thanks for the Demar Dorsey article, bg.

    I feel like printing it out and driving down to Miami to literally rub it in some of my boys’ faces and yell “SEE!!!! RANDY DOES KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING!”

    But I won’t.

  26. Thanks for the article, DAT! How you been?

  27. lol, Canez1.

    Btw, in case you didn’t catch it yesterday, we need expresso martinis at the OSU tailgate. Absolute necessity, especially if we are having eleventy beers the evening before. :-)

  28. Espresso Martinis at a tailgate are tough. Too many ingredients plus they need to be shaken.

    Not tailgate friendly!

    I will bring the 5 hour energy and redbulls instead and we should be good for days.

    MMMM eleventy beers!!!

    Cmon stop teasin!!!

    GO CANEZ!!!!!

  29. Boo. I am going to do the low-rent version myself, then! Vodka and starbucks! haha ;-)

    People are starting to come out of the woodworks that are coming to Columbus. It’s going to be a heck of a tailgate. I just wish I could bring all my stuff up there. :-(

    How long do you think that trip would take from Delray Beach? haha. Just when you think Trailerhassee is a long drive!

  30. avatar
    Esteban says:

    looks like Kyle Parker is done at Clemson as its QB. 1st Round draft pick now.

  31. avatar
    Captain Optimist says:

    JSQ says:
    June 8, 2010 at 10:11 AM
    Thanks for the Demar Dorsey article, bg.

    I feel like printing it out and driving down to Miami to literally rub it in some of my boys’ faces and yell “SEE!!!! RANDY DOES KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING!”

    But I won’t.

    >>>>

    You should. I know I would. Then when you rub the ACC championship photos in their faces it’ll be even more fun. lol

  32. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    Waiting for (probably) bad news from the Hurricane club in July and then I’ll weigh my options and see what’s out there.

  33. Esteban says:
    June 8, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    looks like Kyle Parker is done at Clemson as its QB. 1st Round draft pick now.

    As I predicted!

  34. JSQ says:
    June 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Bg, etc., what do you think of DE Aaron Lynch?

    Good ball player but we have better on our board PLUS he’s going to Notre Dame.

  35. avatar
    DATcane says:

    Clemson lost a lot of talent should b able to handle them!

  36. JSQ.

    Best thing about Lynch is he already has college size at 6’6 245, but I don’t think he’s as explosive as some other DEs on our board. I love Chikillo, Dubose, Harris, and even Rabassa WAY better.

  37. DATcane says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Clemson lost a lot of talent should b able to handle them!

    Should have beat them last season.

  38. Bg1906 says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:11pm

    Should have beat them last season.

    ——————-

    Amen.

    SQUIB!!! SQUIB!!!!

  39. Canesx3, I would start looking at ticket sites, just in case.

    I hope you join us up there! :-)

  40. Gotcha, bg. Thanks for the info!

  41. Cav, those are my boys (‘Canes fans) so I won’t rub it in their faces since we all want the same thing.

    I just get P-I-S-S-E-D off when people doubt Randy Shannon. It is one of the quickest ways to get on my bad side.

    That, and acting like my puppy isn’t handsome. Sebastian is gorgeous. Not up for discussion.

  42. avatar
    Esteban says:

    6’6, 245 in high school? future DT. i like mixing in tall DTs with squat dudes. part of the reason i want Tallman playing DT instead of OT.

  43. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    Listening to MM01 doing the interview of Hopfinger I too was very impressed with his poise in answering the questions, his confidence in his kicking and that he is glad to be a Hurricane. This young man is an excellent example of the kind of character RS is recruiting as well as having the athletic ability to kick for a program like the U.

    His coaches, parents, and others who have had an influence on this young man should be very proud of who he has turned out to be.

    Great job folks!

  44. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    I’m sure that down the line, sooner rather than later, he will be given a scholarship.

  45. avatar
    Esteban says:

    i think i talked my mother into getting an iPad unintentionally.

  46. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    Kyle Parker drafted in the first round by the Rockies, If I was the young man I ‘d take the money, the opportunity and run with it. He will have a longer more lucrative career in MLB. More lucrative over time and not the wear and tear on his body. When he retires he will be able to walk without a walker and not feel dizzy (multiple concussions) every time he stands up!

    Rockies are a very good organization for developing their minor league players.

    Yaz will be in the majors in three years in Cincinnati. He joins Yonder Alonzo in that organization.

  47. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    The Reds are getting more competitive on the field and Yaz will be an important gog in the emergence of the Big Red Machine. Cincinnati fans are going to think Johnny Bench has found the fountain of youth and is back in a Reds uniform.

    Speaking of Johnny Bench Yaz should win that award.

  48. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    ESPNU is showing a reply of Cal-State Fullerton vs Minnesota instead of A&M/Miami live.? Who is making those decisions at ESPN these days?

  49. avatar
    DATcane says:

    Miami up 3-2 bottom 4

  50. avatar
    DATcane says:

    3-2 miami top 5

  51. avatar
    DATcane says:

    rail delay lol

  52. woo hoo, 6-2 canes top 6

  53. make that 7-2 now!

  54. 8-2 Miami!

  55. avatar
    pb(EOTHROH10) says:

    We wont be facing Parker this year.

    There’s no way that kid risks injury on a Clemson team that lost it’s best two offensive and defensive players. Maybe if Sapp, Spiller and company were coming back he’d risk it. But they’ll be lucky to be above decent this season.

  56. 10-3, Miami

    Time to go up to that cesspool to the north to play the dirty crocs

  57. avatar
    Hurricane Randy says:

    Now it’s the Gators turn!!!!!!!!!!! Canes win, Canes Win, Canes win

  58. avatar
    canechic says:

    Is it over JSQ gametracker is about 5hours behind?

  59. I think there is a delay on game tracker and WQAM.

  60. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    Canesville: hide your women and children, there’s a hurricane coming!

  61. avatar
    canechic says:

    oh lord I am nervous!

  62. Haha, Canesx3.

    Lock up your daughters: the ‘Canes are coming to town!!!

    Don’t be nervous, Tammy!!!

  63. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    Nervous?

    We don’t need no stinking nervous. We make other people nervous. Gators have a lot more to lose. It’s in their house they’re expected to lose. We’re Canes. We’re going in there like we own the place.

    I’ll tell you what should make any Gator baseball fan nervous: that they know with absolute certainty that they will never match the Canes in CWS championships (4). They have yet to even SNIFF one!!!!

  64. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    ….should have written: “they’re expected to win”

  65. avatar
    canechic says:

    Thanks for the pep talk I needed that….GO CANES!!!!

    Pitching still makes me nervous!

  66. Freudian slip, Canesx3!

  67. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    No problem, CC

    Defense can make your nerves jangle, too. But what the hell, let’s just act like we own them…’cause we do!

  68. Mmmmmmm gator meat.

    Tastes like chicken.

  69. avatar
    CanesCanesCanes says:

    Freud would say the gators suffer from Cane p*nis envy

  70. Glad to see UM pulled this one out.

    Looking forward to seeing them on TV again.

    If UM keeps the bats popping and we get some good pitching, anything can happen…

  71. Yes, very happy it will be televised!

    So, would it be bad to turn on the game during the jewelry party I’m having on Friday? It’s 20 chicks and I’m thinking only 3 baseball fans in the crowd, but a ‘Canes event playing is like assumption of risk entering my house, right?

    Besides, they are Diamond ‘Canes! Get it? Diamond ‘Canes . . . jewelry party . . . diamond . . .

    Bad joke. Off to the barre class. Day 2 of Operation: Game Day Diet continues.

  72. avatar
    canechic says:

    Turn it on in the background, good thing about baseball you can watch with the TV on mute.

  73. avatar
    Doc Ibis says:

    Hey Este, we were his first offer but Notre Dame has come on and taken the lead… After reading that link though, it sounds like he is still high on us but the fact that he is from the Chicago area leads me to believe that he’ll stay up there and go to Notre Dame

  74. Este beat me to it.

  75. avatar
    Doc Ibis says:

    Just watched his junior highlights… He plays RB, QB, and WR… They list him as a 4.5 but he doesn’t look that fast… Kinda moves like Hankerson but slower…. I think we may be better off with him than maybe Andre Davis but he’s no Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, of Ja’Juan Story IMO

  76. avatar
    Doc Ibis says:

    On the message board on one of the pay sites, they posted your interview with Asante Cleveland!!

  77. cool. The more that know, the better.

  78. I saw it, Doc. They need to read the Hopfinger interview. It’s the best one (maybe Tallman) of the players.

  79. Just wait till next Wednesday…

    Gotta good one for you guys and gals…

  80. Looking forward to that one and all the others! You are on fire! :-)

  81. Baseball article is ready. Give it a read, and post it.

  82. New blog up!

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