Senior left guard Trey Hopkins knew little of losing when he first arrived at Texas.
He enjoyed a stellar career at North Shore Senior High School in Houston from 2007 through 2010, where he helped lead the Mustangs to an impressive 42-8 record.
Although Hopkins expected similar results at the college level when he committed to Texas, the Longhorns have gone just 25-18 in his tenure. Despite this, the senior remains pleased with his career at Texas so far.
“It’s been different, but I think it’s been worthwhile,” Hopkins said. “I came from a [high school] program where winning was easy. It was never anything to think about. It was almost the same thing at Texas, but now we’ve really gone through the process where there’s really more to go into winning than just showing up.”
Hopkins realized the need to ramp up practice habits and improve weekly preparation once he arrived at college. He believes the increased work ethic and ability to overcome adversity that he adopted at Texas continues to mold him for the future.
“That’s a lesson that a lot of guys can take from this place,” Hopkins said. “Things aren’t going to come easy for us like a lot of our high school programs did. It’s really taught me how important preparation is as opposed to just what jersey you are wearing.”
Hopkins refuses to look too far ahead, though. The Longhorns stand in an early tie for first in the Big 12 with a 2-0 record, and the senior figures to be an enormous part of Texas’ run at a conference title.
At 6-foot-4-inches and 300 pounds, Hopkins possesses ideal size and athleticism for an offensive lineman. While he plays most of his snaps at left guard, head coach Mack Brown believes Hopkins’ ability to play all five positions on the line, coupled with his consistency, makes him an invaluable part of the Texas offense.
“Trey is a guy that is kind of an unsung hero,” Brown said. “He does the same thing every week. He plays great, he’s really smart and he doesn’t make any mental errors. He can play all five spots. He’s just been a really good football player for us.”
In addition to his on-field prowess, Hopkins impacts the Longhorns as a leader in the locker room. While he refrains from rowdy speeches to amp up his teammates, the senior takes it upon himself to ensure the entire roster remains focused on the same objectives.
“My leadership role is more of the big picture guy,” Hopkins said. “I’m not the big rah-rah guy. I don’t make the speeches everyday, but I will address something. I’ll speak for the whole senior class if there’s something being repeated over and over again.”
Fellow linemen believe his leadership is instrumental in helping younger linemen adapt to the position. Senior right guard Mason Walters remembers Hopkins playing a major role in the growth of junior college transfer Donald Hawkins last season, and he said the Longhorns know what to expect each week from the left guard.
“He plays very consistent,” Walters said. “He’s got such a unique, good frame for an offensive lineman — extremely long arms, rangy and he moves really well in space. I think one of the things most telling about Trey is that when Donald Hawkins first got here, he didn’t know the offense. Trey really helped him out because he had such a great understanding of things.”
When the Longhorns battled injuries along the line earlier in the season, Hopkins helped maintain order in the trenches. His accountability both on the field and in the locker room continues to make him one of Texas’ most valuable players, and his contributions to the Longhorns this season remain undeniable.