June 29, 2008

Vikings' Receivers Impress

The Princeton Vikings were one of the surprise teams of 2007 in the Queen City. They finished with an 8-3 record with their season ending in the first round of the playoffs to Centerville. A lot of the focus on the Vikings was directed at their sophomore standout QB, Spencer Ware. While Ware burst onto the scene last season, two of the big reasons as to why were two of his great receivers, Jeff Duckworth and Jordan Hopgood.

Ware's primary target was Duckworth, who finished the season with 900 yards receiving and seven TDs. Thanks to that, Duckworth was nominated to the First Team All Conference. He is a strong receiver with great hands and has the great ability to run routes. It was these qualities that lead him to four 100+ yards receiving games and saw him finish second in the GMC in receiving yards.

Entering his senior season with the Vikings, Duckworth is being targeted by Indiana University. They feel he will fit well into their spread offense. In addition to Indiana, he is getting the attention of scouts from Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, East Carolina, Bowling Green and Miami (OH). So far he has only received an offer from IU, but there is a good chance he will receive more offers as the 2008 season is played out.

Duckworth recently visited Indiana to work with the coaches on some drills and to help him gage his own interest. When asked about Indiana, Duckworth responded, "Its in an up and coming program. I like the coaches." As of right now, he's very interested in becoming a Hoosier, but hasn't made any concrete decisions. Whatever school he attends he plans to major in either business or education.

In addition to Duckworth, the Vikings have another highly touted senior wideout in Hopgood. The Second Team All-Conference player made a good impression on scouts back in May at the Nike Camp. Hopgood is a very versatile player. Along with playing wide receiver last season, he played some at quarterback as well as running back last season. Hopgood finished the season in the top 10 in receiving yards in the GMC with 432 yards along with four TDs. He also passed for a 111 yards and ran the ball for 99 yards last season and added three more TDs for a total of seven. He only had one 100+ yard receiving game and that came in the second game of the season.

Because of the way Princeton runs their offense, with Ware being so versatile in both the passing and running game, receptions aren't very plentiful. With Duckworth being Ware's main guy, Hopgood didn't get the chance to showcase his talents last season, his first starting season on the Vikings' varsity squad.

Hopgood is the type of receiver that's not afraid to go over the middle and take a hit. He's built more like a running back, so not only can he take a hit, he can delivery one as well. He doesn't have great breakaway speed at the second level, but his ability to make people miss to deliver a blow to a would-be tackler gets him the extra yards after the catch.

Even without having as many opportunities to be put on display, Hopgood has already received four offers from colleges. Air Force, Army, Eastern Michigan, and Nebraska have sent offers his way to this point. Hopgood also has some interest in Cincinnati, Purdue, Indiana and Tennessee. As he plays out his senior season he should start to generate more interest from schools thanks to his versatility and toughness.

The Vikings should be in for another good season with having two wideouts the likes of Duckworth and Hopgood. They play in a tough conference that features Colerain in addition to a strong Sycamore team. If both Duckworth and Hopgood can continue to progress in the skills, which all signs say they will, the Vikings could pose a serious threat to the GMC title this season.



 

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