HOUSTON -- Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins is expecting big things from his alma mater in next Monday's national championship game against Alabama.
"Clemson by 14," Hopkins said. "We have a high-powered offense. I don’t think they’ve seen that since Johnny Manziel. I don’t think they’ve seen a quarterback like Deshaun Watson since Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton."
Manziel went 1-1 as a starter against Alabama while he played at Texas A&M. He led the Aggies to a road win over the Crimson Tide in 2012 on the way to winning the Heisman Trophy. In 2013 Texas A&M lost to Alabama, 49-42, but Manziel completed 28 of 39 passes, threw five touchdowns and had 98 yards rushing.
Newton led Auburn to a 28-27 win over Alabama in 2010. He threw three touchdown passes and ran another one in.
After Clemson beat Oklahoma 37-17, Hopkins got a Facetime view of the team's locker room. He kept an eye on the Goodyear Cotton Bowl between Alabama and Michigan State, relaying updates. His uncle Larry Greenlee is Clemson's assistant strength and conditioning coach and his cousin, D.J. Greenlee, is a tight end for the Tigers.
"I think our record is like 3-15 against Alabama, so I was kind of pulling for Michigan State," Hopkins said. "I’m pretty sure they have a good game plan going forward. Just going to have to execute."
He's close on the record. Alabama leads Clemson 12-3 all time and has won the past 12 meetings between the teams, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Clemson's last win over Alabama was in 1905. But Clemson is ranked No. 1 and hasn't lost a game this season. It's exactly what Hopkins expected from his alma mater.
"It was kind of national championship or bust just from talking to people there," Hopkins said. "I got some family that still part of the team. Just their mindset coming in this season was championship or bust; that’s the way they’re playing."