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November 2, 2008

Hawkins discusses commitment to Maryland

Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins had no shortage of options for college.

Rivals.com’s No. 199 player in the class of 2009 had offers from Penn State, Michigan, West Virginia and numerous others. But it was an official visit to Oregon last month that really put things in perspective for the four-star player.

“The facilities [were great], the coaches were cool and the players were cool, but it was just too far [from home],” Hawkins said. “It was my dream school and everything, but I felt like I would never see my mom.”

Cheryl Hawkins wasn’t shy about extolling the virtues of Maryland to her son. On Thursday, Hawkins granted his mother’s wish, committing to the Terps in front of friends, family and teammates at a news conference at Quince Orchard High School.

“I just woke up and really got tired of the recruiting process,” Hawkins said. “I could’ve went anywhere, but my mom wanted me to stay close. I can see my family whenever; if I was too far away I wouldn’t be able to do that. That’s one of the key factors [for how] I decided on Maryland.”

There were actually rumors Hawkins had committed to the Terps back in August, along with Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel. Porzel had, in fact, made his decision, but Hawkins wasn’t quite ready.

“I mean we talked about it before he committed,” Hawkins said. “I told him to let me know if he was going to commit; I told him to call me. My phone was turned off, so I guess he couldn’t reach me. He pulled the trigger when I was in Florida. Somehow that started some rumor. ... But now we’re both Terps, so he’s happy and I’m happy.”

Hawkins has been friends with Porzel since the two played little league football together. Hawkins and future UM defensive tackle Zach Kerr helped lead Quince Orchard to the 4A state title last season. Both relationships were positives for Maryland in Hawkins’ mind, as was his friendship with one current Terp.

“I’m real cool with [freshman running back] Davin Meggett,” Hawkins said. “When I go down there for the Florida State game, he’ll be my host and he’ll show me a good time. And he’s producing on the field as a true freshman, and that’s something I feel I can go in and do.”

Maryland coaches first started recruiting Hawkins after his sophomore season as a running back. Between then and now, Hawkins developed into the 19th-ranked cornerback in the country. That’s the position he’ll play in College Park, with the possibility of the occasional appearance at wide receiver.

Hawkins sprained his ankle two weeks ago, and has eased his way back into the Quince Orchard lineup. He’s focused now on regaining full health and helping QO defend its state championship. Then in December, he’ll graduate high school and enroll at UM in January.

“I feel like there’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Hawkins said. “I’m going to work hard and get that defense fired up to go out there and get shutouts every week.”

Click on the You Tube player for highlights from Hawkins’ junior season.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:31 AM | | Comments (3)
        

Comments

Wow, after a couple of tough recruiting years for the Terps, things are really looking up in both football and hoops.

Being on campus for the spring semester is a great help for Hawkins, both academically and athletically. He'll be able to participate in spring practice and get his feet wet with classes as well. A good pickup for the Terps.

If the Fridge still wants to give Portis more playing time, why not utilize him the way the Ravens have used Troy Smith with Flacco? This would certainly add immediate diversity to a very good offense and give the opponents something to think about and prepare for!

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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