From an early age, Daniel Hopkins knew he wanted to earn an athletic scholarship. Last Friday, the 2016 San Benito High graduate saw his dream come true when he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Holy Names University, the Oakland college that is transitioning to the NCAA Division II level.
“It’s definitely a life-changer,” he said. “To get the percentage of scholarship I got, I was really fortunate. I got a pretty big offer, and it kind of stole my heart away. It blew my mind. I’ve had friends who have received scholarships, and this one was amazing and wonderful.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Hopkins is projected to play the same positions he did while having a standout career at San Benito High: pitcher and outfield. On the mound, Hopkins threw with velocity that belied his size; in the outfield, the right-hander played solid defense.
“I’m going to be undersized at the college level, but that will only make me work harder,” he said. “I’ve been undersized for as long as I can remember.”
That memory seared in Hopkins’ head growing up, and it gave him more fuel to improve and develop. Hopkins credited his dad, Darin, for pushing him hard growing up. Whether it was after practice or on the weekends, the two would share plenty of quality father-son time in the batting cages or on the field.
Hopkins was also a two-year varsity football player, earning a starting spot at receiver in his senior year. He also was the backup quarterback during his junior season and the placeholder in both years. When Hopkins graduated in late May, he didn’t have an offer on the table.
Hopkins got accepted into Sonoma State University but would have to walk-on to make the baseball team. His other option was going to a community college to play and earn a scholarship after two years. But Holy Names made him an offer a couple of weeks ago, making an uncertain future a secure one.
“I knew I wanted to play baseball after high school,” he said. “It was going to be somewhere—I just didn’t know where. Fortunately, Holy Names wanted me, and I can’t wait to get things started there.”