One of the challenges for Clemson in spring practice this year is replacing the playmakers that helped the Tigers field one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Wide receiver Germone Hopper, one of the players expected to compete for depth chart spots previously occupied by Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant, will miss the rest of the Tigers' spring practice to focus on academics.
Head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters on Monday that Hopper, a 6-0, 180-pound four-star prospect coming out of high school in Charlotte, N.C., is "still with the team" and can have an impact in 2014 if the sophomore can improve his academic performance.
"He's a good young man, talented, but not very focused or committed to doing what he needs to do academically," Swinney said via The Greenville News. "So I'm giving him some time to go focus at Vickery Hall [the team's academic center]. That's what he's going to be working on these next few weeks."
Hopper played in 12 of 13 games for Clemson in 2013, recording 23 receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns. With Watkins and Bryant gone, there are a lot of receptions up for grabs between talented sophomore Mike Williams, veterans Adam Humphries and Charone Peake, Hopper and others.
Swinney seems confident in Hopper's ability to get back on the coach's good side.
"We're just trying to get guys to buy in to the totality of the program," Swinney said. "It's not just football. That's a big part of what we do here, but we develop these guys in ever area of their life, not just as a player. I'm not worried about G-Hop as a player -- he's going to be just fine as a football player if he'll commit in all the other areas he needs to commit in."
Clemson will wrap spring practice with the 2014 spring game on Saturday, April 12 at Memorial Stadium.