Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE
All for one: Austin Fleetwood.
Dustin Hopkins' nation-leading streak of 145 consecutive successful PATs ended on Saturday.
Something far more important ended Monday.
Hopkins, a team captain, and EJ Manuel had joined "Team Fleetwood." Austin Fleetwood, a 17-year-old from Crawfordville, Florida, found out he had lung and tissue cancer back in the spring. Team Fleetwood was Tammy Fleetwood's (Austin's mother) attempt to raise money for her sick son.
Both Hopkins and Manuel, along with FSU director of football operations Eric Korem, had brought FSU memorabilia to Fleetwood after the Murray State game.
Upon finding out of Austin's passing on Monday morning, EJ, teary-eyed, said to the Orlando Sentinel: “Being able to see him … I’ve never experienced something like that. Luckily my parents and my sister were still here. I couldn’t help but cry when I got the text.”
The two had tried to get Fleetwood to attend the Savannah State game, but his ill health prevented such travel. EJ will wear a wristband in Austin's honor this fall, inscribed with the words "Faith, Hope, and Strength." Dustin Hopkins will continue to make a difference in the kicking game, but the kicker deserved credit for going above and beyond the call of duty.
I regularly say that Dustin Hopkins is not a clutch kicker. But he is a clutch person.