COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On what his thoughts are about coming to the Rams)
“I’m elated, you have no idea. It’s just a crazy opportunity that I’m ready to take advantage of.”
(On if he was surprised when they called his name)
“Just as surprised as I think any pick at that point. I was just so ecstatic, I think that’s when the emotions kind of really started to hit was when they picked me.”
(On if there is something about the Rams that is especially appealing)
“(Head Strength) Coach (Justin) Lovett, who actually was the head of my strength and conditioning staff, is there now. That’s one relationship I have that I know that I’m going to enjoy as well as (TE) Tyler Higbee who also played under (Purdue University Football Assistant) Coach (Brian) Brohm at WKU (Western Kentucky University). I think it’ll be a great room that I can be an addition to.”
(On his interactions with the Rams throughout his draft process and if he was surprised that they were the team that called him)
“I was a little surprised, but just as surprised as any other team. I did have a good amount of contact with them before during Senior Bowl and during the combine. They had a steady following the whole time. Even before the season, they had scouts out there talking to some of our coaches about me. I knew that they were looking for a tight end and it’s exciting that I get to go play with Tyler Higbee.”
(On how much the coaches of Purdue told him about TE Tyler Higbee and if they used him as an example)
“Yeah, of course. A lot of the film that we would watch was always from WK (Western Kentucky) film. So, we would watch Higbee and the tight ends there and how they ran the plays, and tried to mirror that, or if we can, maybe adjust it even better to our own offense. That was a lot of the film that we watched was WKU film and Tyler Higbee.”
(On what his best attribute is as a pass catcher and what some things are that he can work on)
“I think one of my strengths is my ability to create separation at the top of routes and use athleticism and go up and get the ball. I want to become a more consistent catcher. I don’t have bad hands. I just think that I can concentrate more on that ball and look it in and then my drop rate would go way down. I would just be able to become that more consistent catcher that everyone wants to see out of me.”
(On how he kept his mind busy for three days and how difficult the wait was)
“The anxiety is crazy. It kind of eats away at you. You don’t know where you’re going to go, it’s uncertain, but once your name is called, it makes up for everything I would say. It makes up for all that time before…I knew I wasn’t going to go the first day, even second day might not, but I was just so glad to hear my name.”
(On his reaction to joining a team out on the west coast, with a new stadium opening and has had success in recent seasons)
"It's just such a huge opportunity. There's more opportunity in L.A. with that team than there is for me with a lot of other teams. For God to have put me on that team, in their hands, it’s just a sign from him that I'm supposed to be there, I'm ready to do my thing with the team and just make it home."
(On how he would describe the blocking aspect of his game)
"I always say that I'm a versatile tight end, that I have the ability to do both receive and block. I think that's something that I would hope people see in me, my ability to block, my willingness to do it. I'm not 260 pounds, I can't just throw people around – I'm not 260 pounds, yet, I should say. You never know where they want me at, I doubt I'll get to 260 but I could get somewhere close. I just think that it's something that I'm going to be working on, I've been doing a lot to work on it but it's definitely a part of my game that if I can get better at, I think my game will definitely elevate tremendously."
(On what current or former NFL players he thinks aspects of his game resemble)
"You know, I always want to say (49ers Tight End) George Kittle. I think he's got the best of both worlds, he's the best tight end, but just the way that he always plays disciplined in the receiving game and in the blocking game with his technique and his fundamentals, but also as an athlete, I think that's something that I admire the most about him as a player. As much as I can mirror myself after him, I would love to do that. Also, another player, (Baltimore Ravens TE) Mark Andrews, (Philadelphia Eagles TE) Zach Ertz, other players like that."
(On how his dad, former Titans T Brad Hopkins, has helped him navigate the draft process and if his dad has provided any good advice)
"Yes sir, he's been there the whole way. No more than my mom has – my whole family has really been there as the backbones. But when it comes to football, he does have that additional knowledge. He hasn't spared any when it comes to giving it to me. He's going to tell me how I need to get to the places I want to go and how hard it's going to be to get there, how hard I have to work and committed and dedicated I'll have to be. But thanks to him, I'm ready to do that."
(On if it's his family screaming in the background whenever they see his name on the TV)
"Yeah, they're in the basement, they’re just yelling, so I had to come upstairs for this."
(On what his family's reaction was when the Rams call came in)
"Everyone just started screaming. I had a big family there in our basement, we're all social distancing, doing our job, but they were all just elated, it was wild. A lot of emotions, a lot of tears, a lot of laughs, cries, everything."