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Former Sparkman High All-American Xavier Hopkins, No. 41, had a great season in 2022 playing for the Panthers of Clark Atlanta University. The talented linebacker will be a junior on the field next season. Photo Contributed

Xavier Hopkins Used NCAA Transfer Portal To Perfection- Now Star Player At Clark Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA.- “This will be the year,” declared Xavier Hopkins, a 2023 on-field junior for the Clark Atlanta University Panthers football program. “I have a lot of people who look out for me here in Atlanta, even the lunch ladies at the school and our football program.”

Hopkins, a 2019 graduate of Sparkman High, was a walk-on at Alabama State in 2019, but chose to leave the Hornets team in Montgomery and enter the transfer portal. He reached out to several programs and chose to sign with Clark Atlanta University. The team did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Hopkins jumped into action in 2021 playing in all 10 of the Panthers’ contests starting two of those games while the squad was 2-8 overall. In 2022, Hopkins took on a starting role for the entire season where he posted 90 tackles as he was among the top two tackle leaders on the defense. He forced two fumbles, had two sacks, 11 tackles for loss and six pass break ups. Despite the team posting a 3-7 record in the 13-member school Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), Hopkins said he had what he thought was a great season at inside linebacker.

“I also learned a lot in season two here at Clark as I dealt with adversity a good part of the season,” said Hopkins. “I suffered a knee injury in our third game of the schedule against Lane College. I thought it was much worse than it was as it was determined I suffered a severe bruising of my left knee. I played through the injury the remainder of the season.”

Hopkins also felt his team lost games it should have won, but there’s no one to blame. It was a team effort that did not live up to expectations. He added, “Some people wrote me off even before I arrived here in Atlanta, but I have played every week and I love it. We didn’t finish games when we had a chance to do so.”

The son of James and Nicole Massey is now 23 years old and will be a junior in 2023 in football terms, but a senior in the classroom where his studies are in business administration and sports marketing and currently has a 3.5 grade point average. He is committed to playing even better in 2023 as NFL scouts have been around at times looking at other Panthers on the team, but Hopkins is already prepping for possible inclusion in the National Football League, which, like most young football players, is a dream.

“This going to be a special year as the Lord is going to be with me personally and our team,” said Hopkins from his apartment in Atlanta he shares with four roommates and is just 10 minutes from the Clark Atlanta campus. “I’ve overcome a lot and I believe God put me in the right place and I’m surrounded by great people. My family has pushed me. My coaches have pushed me. My teammates have pushed me, and I feel I’m blessed to have the opportunity here as I have great coaches.”

His move to college football from the success he had at Sparkman High was much different than he expected as there’s an enormous amount of extra work each college athlete must go through to be successful. Each athlete must be focused every day and have to face beating the odds. Hopkins added, “You have to be honest with yourself.”

Several of Hopkins’ former teammates at Sparkman are playing college football. As many as 30 former Senators are trekking up and down the gridiron in college football in some capacity. He looks back on May 16, 2020, the day he committed to Clark Atlanta University, but is now looking ahead to what he feels will be the year.

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