Moton Hopkins, who played 44 games at Tulsa University before coming to the CFL rallied up 216 tackles and 8 sacks in his NCAA career! The outstanding numbers in his final two seasons turned the heads of the staff of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Hopkins played the 2010 season in Winnipeg, where he’d have 7 tackles and one sack. Despite the low number of tackles, Hopkins got two turnovers where he’d run one back for a 36 yard pick-six!
The two turnovers he’d recover in his CFL rookie season lit the eyes of the Montreal Alouettes, where he’d spend the next 3 season! Throughout the time spend in Montreal, he would record 33 tackles to go with 5 sacks and a fumble recovery!
The CFLPA representative was on the market once again, but this time it wasn’t free agency. In the 2013-14 off-season, Hopkins was elected by the REDBLACKS 3rd overall in the Expansion draft!
In his seasons spent in the nation’s capital, he had 53 tackles, 8 sacks and one fumble recovery while also being a defensive captain on the team.
His 53 tackles and 8 sacks were not quite the accomplishment with the REDBLACKS… In both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the team participated in Grey Cups! As a captain of the 2016 team, Moton Hopkins won his first career Grey Cup!
After winning the Grey Cup, the team voted that Moton Hopkins would help design the championship ring!
The ring that he’d eventually wear on the sidelines! In the 2017 off-season, Hopkins retired and became a defensive assistant coach!
Moton has been out of football for 2 seasons now, and I was able to catch up with him with a quick interview on Friday afternoon!
Q: In your time spent in Ottawa, you saw first hand how different the 2015 and 16′ seasons were compared to the 2014 season… What was different about the 2014 season that made it more difficult to win games?
A: “We had a year that we played with each other, and got familiar with it. The first year, we had a good group of people, we just weren’t closing out games. The first year we went 2-16, about 10 of those games we lost by less than ten points. We were really almost there, but having more time together, and adding some key players that helped out on offense, so we just got better from there! We really learnt how to play together, and we finished games.”
Q: Was leadership ever a problem in the 2014 season?
A: “I wouldn’t say so, the guys were leading just as hard in other years. We just couldn’t close games, so that was the main problem.”
Q: In your career, you were coached by great guys in the college and pro level. What do you have to say about the success Rick Campbell has had early in his coaching career?
A: “Coach Campbell’s success has to do with how hard he works, he’s really a hard worker! He demands a lot out of us (the players), but at the same time he has enough to balance it with getting work done when it’s needed and not overworking guys! He’s one that you’ call a players coach, he’d communicate us and ask how we’re doing on the field and off the field. He was really always there for us, but also worked us hard at the same time. He was a great listener and I believe that plays a huge role in his success!”
Q: During your career you were also able to play for both coaches, Mark Nelson and Noel Thorpe. What do you have to say about what they’ve done together in the last two seasons?
A: “I’d say that they’re doing a great job! They both lost pieces over the years and were able to come over that and build success alone, and now that they’re together, it’s huge for Ottawa. They have a great way of not just finding talent bu also creating talent, and that is a big reason why they’ve had success on their respective sides. They both are similar towards their coaching styles, so the defense has done well going after offenses since they joined sides. Along with Coach Blugh, the defense is being coached by some great guys, and shouldn’t have much trouble in future years.”
Q: After your playing career, you were able to join forces with the REDBLACIKS and help coach a little in 2017. Since then, have you considered coming back to football as a coach?
A: “Ya, I would definitely consider coming back. Coaching is something I really enjoyed, it’s much different than playing, because your not on the field hitting, but you’re working just as much. Coaches add so much value to the game, and I would love to share all the knowledge I may never use again. I played 7 years in the CFL and I have some knowledge a team would love. It was fun to be in that position, and players wouldn’t be in their positions without coaches, so I hope to make an impact sometime soon!”
Q: In the seasons you played in the league, you were able to play with some great guys, what do you have to say about both Sherrod Baltimore and Jonathan Rose’s success early in their careers?
A: “I think they’re great! They both are passionate guys, and that’s the biggest thing! There’s lots of talented players, but the ability to study and your love for the game can either help you or kill you in football. Those two guys are extremely passionate, and they study a lot! I think a few games back, Baltimore had a fumble where Rose brought for a TD, that was just Sherrod putting everything he had into the hit, and Rose was in the right spot! If you play the game and study enough, the game becomes easier, and much for fun! These guys are having fun!”
Q: You were able to play in the first ever grey cup championship here in Ottawa for the REDBLACKS! when the final whistle blew at BMO Field, what was going through your head?
A: “It was a very surreal moment, it was one of those moments where you pause and I was just thinking to myself “We did it, but what’s next?”, everything was going on the field. There were a lot of emotions, it was my first championship in 7 years. As an athlete, you put everything in for championships, so to live in that moment, it was crazy. It was a great group of guys to experience that with!”
Q: As a veteran defensive lineman, you’ve played against multiple great offensive lineman also, who would be the toughest guys you’ve gone up against?
A: “It’s tough to single out guys, because each one of them has worked so hard in their careers. One would have to be Stanley Bryant, he was a tough offensive lineman to go up against.Michael Ola, who I played with before is a great offensive lineman, who is now in the NFL. Tyler Holmes, who I played with at Tulsa, and got to play against in the CFL. All the guys on the Edmonton, and Toronto lines are all guys that I can remember being tough to go against. I can see them lined up in front of me, but cant figure the names out. Every single offensive lineman that I’ve gone up against has my respect. They’ve never gotten enough credit for what they’ve done for their offensive players behind them, and it’s real hard to single them out individually. The guys on the line challenge me and the rest of the defense every week and made us all better athletes!”