He didn’t know it at the time, but Jeremy Bosken was one tweet away from “recruiting” one of the best receivers in the Big Seven Conference.
When Bosken took over as David Crockett’s head football coach earlier this year, his approach caught the interest of basketball/baseball player Luke Hopson. A 6-foot-3, 165-pound rising senior, Hopson decided to “follow” Bosken on Twitter.
“I had never talked to him in person,” said Hopson. “He came to a basketball game, and then he messaged me on Twitter. I decided to give (football) a shot.”
The result to this point? In his first season of high school football, Hopson leads the league with 45 receptions — 14 more than anybody else — and 686 yards.
Bosken said he didn’t expect his tweet to be this successful.
“We didn’t really know how good (Hopson) would be,” said Bosken, whose team has a two-game winning streak and a 4-3 record heading into Friday’s game at home against Volunteer. “And every day we don’t know how good he can be still.
“He has not dropped a ball in the last two games. He understands the DNA of routes, and how to use different routes to his advantage.”
Understanding is not an issue for Hopson. He gets things to the tune of a 3.83 grade-point average and a score of 26 on the ACT.
Hopson said he approaches grades the same way he takes on football.
“A lot of people who don’t make the grades, it isn’t because they’re not smart,” he said. “You just have to put in the effort, and go in with a positive attitude.
“You’ve got to get things done in school first, and then athletics second.”
One reason Hopson’s success this season is improbable is because he hadn’t played football since middle school. Hopson said Bosken deserves credit for building a quick foundation — brick by brick, like University of Tennessee’s Butch Jones would say.
“I heard about the stuff Coach Bosken was doing, and how he was running the offense,” said Hopson. “I thought it would be a good thing to try, and something I could excel at.”
Hopson is excelling to the point he has been more productive than Tennessee High’s Adam Mitchell, who entered the season as the Big Seven’s clear-cut No. 1 receiver.
“It comes as a little surprise,” said Hopson. “I’ve seen him on film, and he’s a great receiver. But I’m just doing what I can to help the team out.”
Bosken said Hopson even helps on the sideline.
“He’s communicating and always trying to find solutions,” said Bosken. “He does a great job of communicating what kinds of looks he is getting.
“He’s always saying he’s open, and he can beat this guy. He doesn’t think anybody can cover him. But he’s not selfish. He’s one of the best blockers, and he’s one of the first to congratulate a touchdown by Dalton (Brown), or a third-and-one stop by the defense.”
Bosken said Hopson has learned a lot from assistant coach Derek Carr.
“Coach Carr has done an amazing job educating him how to be a good receiver,” said Bosken.
Of course, behind every good receiver is almost always an equally good quarterback. Crockett has one of those in sophomore Ryan Burger.
“Honestly he’s great all around,” said Hopson. “He can throw it as far you need him to throw it. He can lob it or throw bullets. He does whatever he needs to do.”
Another thing helping Hopson rack up numbers is a complementary receiver in Eric Day (30 catches for 424 yards) and a strong ground game led by Brown (581 yards).
It all adds up to a team that is threatening to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2000, and only the second time in school history.
But Hopson said such talk will have to wait.
“Right now the only thing on our minds is Volunteer,” he said.
Down the road, Hopson said he sees a possible future in Bosken’s profession.
“I’d really like to be a teacher and a coach,” said Hopson. “Coach Bosken and (basketball) Coach (John) Good have had a huge impact, seeing how hard they work and how much they care about the players. It has been absolutely incredible the change that has happened at the school. I think we can have this kind of year in all of our sports.”