Michigan's picked up a commit from NJ WR Brad Hawkins. Here is an informative post about him.
|4*, #38 WR,
|4*, #42 WR, #7 NJ
|4*, #25 WR, #6 NJ
|4*, 92, #37 WR
|4*, #38 WR
There is virtual unanimity about where Hawkins falls amongst the top football prospects in the country: about 200th. Every service ranks him somewhere between 191 and 224.
Hawkins is a nice combination of burly-go-get-it and the athleticism to get separation. ESPN calls him a "physical specimen" and praises his ability to get open:
Shows some suddenness off the line for a bigger player. Has a long, strong stride to get into routes quickly and cover ground. Is deceptively sudden in confined spaces and can shift gears to flash double moves. … Above average body control opening up and adjusting to throws outside strike zone. Tracks deep ball well and fields over the shoulder throws naturally. …tremendous red zone potential as he continues to get stronger to be a significant factor on the jump ball.
247's Clint Brewster describes him as a version of Junior Hemingway:
…gives you a lot after the catch. … tough player in traffic and catches contested passes. He's not a blazer on the outside but has adequate speed and shows some quickness to take away angles from defensive backs. Power player and uses contact well in his routes. … He's able to use his body to box out defenders and snags the ball away from his body out in front. Really attacks the ball in jump ball situations.
Rivals is just as high on him as everyone else is but they were higher before his appearance at a camp stop. He dropped about 50 spots afterwards. This is their explanation as to why:
"Hawkins does a lot of things on the field very well and he will be a solid pickup for one team but there isn't a ton of explosiveness to his game. He has a knack for coming up big in big moments but consistently dominating on the field is something he needs to show more consistently."
Other camps he attended had a similar vibe, with a 7 on 7 appearance in Carolina—which was unspecified—netting him a "best hands" award. Both that appearance and the Rivals camp highlighted his reliability. Carolina:
…such a reliable receiver. He works the middle of the field very well and was always there for his quarterbacks in tough situations. Hawkins always seemed to be open because he runs great routes and covers a lot of ground coming out of his breaks.
…hard to point out any one area where Hawkins dominated on Sunday; but he does everything well. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is an all-around wide receiver who can break press coverage, gets on top of defensive backs in a hurry and catches everything thrown his way. The four-star has a basketball background and that came through in the way he was able to high-point the football and out-leap defenders.
He is one of those guys. You know, those guys. The ones that are large and good at boxing out and maybe don't have announcers moaning about how unbelievably open they are.
Hawkins was down to Michigan and South Carolina pretty quickly in his recruitment, but he reports an impressive offer list including OSU, Oregon, Penn State, MSU, Miami, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and so forth and so on.
Hawkins's teammate Ron Johnson just committed to Michigan a couple weeks ago; 2017 OL Cesar Ruiz also has an offer. Before that Camden had a drought of D-I prospects going back to 2009.
FAKE 40 TIME
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I mentioned Junior Hemingway above and I'll mention him again: Hawkins appears to be the kind of guy who can go up and get it in a crowd but also is slippery/mean enough to be an option on screens. He probably isn't going to blow by cornerbacks on the regular but with his ability to position his body and block out defensive backs he may not have to if he's going to be effective.
Hemingway got absolutely enormous at Michigan, pushing linebacker size as an upperclassman—Hawkins isn't that burly yet but at 202 he is filled out well for a high school receiver.
Other potential comparables are Greg Mathews and Amara Darboh.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hawkins is the 21st commit and first outside wide receiver in the class. (IN four-star Chris Evans is tentatively slated for slot receiver.) It's likely Michigan adds one or two more guys at his position, with fellow New Jersist Ahmir Mitchell the most likely name to join him.
Past that, 21 is not much less than 25. By backdating three early enrollees, Michigan can go up to 28 if they have room, and they're recruiting like they do.