Elite Sports Advising caught up with Matthew Hopfner, and alumni who continues his career at Northwestern University. Entering his junior year, Hopfner has experienced plenty of success at Northwestern including being named a Freshman All-American by Perfect Game. That season, he led the Wildcats many key offensive categories including batting average (.335), hits (66), runs (30), and starts (50). He was second on the team in RBI (25), total bases (74) and on base percentage (.376). More impressively, Hopfner finished 9th among Big Ten hitters in batting average in his rookie campaign and was 11th in hits. Playing first base, Hopfner was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten Freshman team.
Hopfner played his youth baseball in the Edina program and was a driving force behind his team’s success.
ESA: What has your transition been like from high school to college from an academic and baseball standpoint?
MH: My transition from high school to college was a lot of fun. From an academic standpoint, I learned to manage my time and use all the help that academic services has to offer. From a baseball standpoint, it took a little time to get acclimated to the speed of college baseball. Working with coaches and older teammates during the fall and winter, I developed a confidence that helped me succeed as a freshman.
ESA: What have been your keys to success since you have been to school?
MH: Baseball is a game that humbles you whenever you think you’ve got it figured out. I have learned to stay positive through the ups and downs. I have also learned to take away something from each of my successes and my failures.
ESA: Explain the demands of being a Division I athlete.
MH: There is a lot of responsibility as a Division I athlete. Between morning lifts, class, afternoon practice and evening meetings, you have to find time to study. Time management is huge as an athlete. You’re also held to a higher standard on social media and in the classroom.
ESA: What things have you learned the most from being a baseball player?
MH: As a baseball player, I have learned countless lessons in my first two years. I learned how to stay committed and work together as a group of brothers. I was challenged to persevere through the failures and difficulties of the team. I learned the positive effects of hard work and the importance of consistent motivation.
ESA: What drives you to get better as a baseball player?
MH: My passion for the game is what drives my motivation.
ESA: Do you have a defining moment you remember on the field where you felt the emotions of, “wow, this is incredible?”
MH: My “wow” moment came during my first game my freshman year. We were playing under the lights at USC and I was fortunate enough to get a couple hits and an RBI during a 2-1 extra inning loss. The atmosphere there was incredible and at that moment I realized how awesome it was to be playing Division I baseball.
ESA: How did Elite help you get to where you are at?
MH: Justin Musil with Elite was very helpful during the recruiting process. He first broke down what I was looking for in a school and experience. He then got me in touch with a few coaches and proceeded to advocate on my part. Justin has developed a mutual trust with plenty of coaches that give him legitimacy when recommending players.
ESA: How did the Elite service help you maximize your exposure and offers?
MH: Elite got me in touch with some schools that I would never have thought of or imagined talking to. Elite has a good network that includes a variety of different universities and programs.