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After a decorated high school career at Dunbar HS in Baltimore, which included three state titles in four years, Hawkins was listed as a three-star prospect by 247 and the 30th ranked player in the state of Maryland. He was initially heading to UTEP, but never enrolled.
He began his collegiate career two years later in 2014 with JUCO Hartnell College out of Salinas, California. After a productive 2014, he got some attention from the likes of Colorado and Hawaii and was ranked by ESPN as the number three JUCO ILB, but was ultimately offered by the Gamecocks.
He enrolled in Columbia in January of 2015 and participated in spring drills.
Hawkins led a productive Hartnell Panther defense for eight games of the season totaling 56 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
He is currently listed as the second-string SAM linebacker behind Larenz Bryant, but with four years of eligibility left, it's unsure how fast the coaches will put him on the field. That said, he's been out of high school for three years now, so he has the physical and mental maturity to make immediate impacts as a rotation player. I think it's likely we'll see him on the field this season supporting a hungry and motivated defensive unit.