Decision Day Has Arrived

It's been a long recruiting process for four-star wide receiver Tim Hawthorne. The Homewood prospect saw his stock soar after combines and summer camps. Hawthorne's parents are finalizing a list for Monday's decision.

"I will probably know where he is going when the rest of the world knows," said Theo Hawthorne [Tim's father]. "Tonight my wife and I will break down the schools we think fit every criteria we were searching for. Tomorrow morning we will give him our recommendation and the list of schools we have cleared."

"We are going to let him know what we think about each school. He will then have to make the right decision for himself. We will fully support him. If he wanted to attend a school in Egypt, we would make a few trips there. That was just to say we want him to know we will support him no matter where he chooses."

Hawthorne took his final official visit to Tennessee this weekend, and the Vols tried to lure him to Knoxville.

"The visit to Tennessee was super," Hawthorne said. "I don't know what else they could have done. It was a good experience for Tim. There weren't many recruits up there so Coach [Phillip] Fulmer was able to spend a lot of time with Tim. They did everything to get themselves back into the mix. I think coach Fulmer was successful in doing just that."

Tim Hawthorne named Auburn as his overall favorite last week, but later retracted to all schools on his list as equal. Alabama was on the outside looking in, but Tim's father claims the Tide remains in the mix.

"Alabama is absolutely not out of the picture," Hawthorne said. "Coach Cheese [Charlie Harbison} came to our house last Wednesday night. We had a very lengthy discussion with coach Cheese. He stayed for dinner and a long time after that. Why in the world would we waste our time having coach Cheese come into our home if they weren't serious contenders? I talked to coach Mike Shula last week as well."

"I think a lot of people thought Alabama was out of it because he didn't take an official visit to Tuscaloosa. We probably got more out of the unofficial visit than we could have with an official visit. The coaches were able to spend a lot more time with Tim since he was alone, and we toured the facilities with the coaches. Trust me, Alabama is definitely in the mix. They are a lot stronger in the mix than what most people think."

Most recruits and parents get burned-out with the recruiting process. However, the Hawthornes have a different take with their experience this past year.

"The exposure has been really great for us," he said. "You always hear of the recruiting horror stories, and that it is unimaginable. We determined early on how we would handle everything. Tim ended up having more choices to choose from than we could have imagined. We asked schools if they wanted him or if they needed him. Every school told us they needed him. They told us he was their No.1 guy. We felt like we could take our time and evaluate each program."

"It's been a really good process. We went on every single trip with Tim. We went on all the official visits and unofficial visits. All the programs have been really good to us. I can really appreciate how the NCAA mandates everything. I just can't imagine this process without any guidelines."

"I really admire all the coaches--head coaches we've met. All the coaches operate their programs with integrity. All the coaches were really good people. Contrary to what people will say, nobody has mislead us in anyway. Everyone has been straight up and honest with us. This whole process worked very well."

Two of Hawthorne's finalists are the powerhouse in-state schools-Alabama and Auburn. Though a decision has not been reached, will the country's seventh-best receiver leave the state?

"Tim has had pressure to stay in-state, but I don't think that is a factor for him at all," Hawthorne said. "People will congratulate him on things, but then tell him the school he ought to attend. Distance to one school versus staying in-state should not be a deciding factor. However, if you do have two in-state schools who you like just as much as an out-of-state school, I believe one of the in-state schools will have an advantage over the out-of-state school. I think if he comes down to that, he will stay in-state. If not, he will have to go wherever his heart leads him and where he feels the most comfortable."

Mr. Hawthorne made it clear about any early decision or private commitment as he stated, "Regardless of all the internet rumors, Tim has not made a decision at all. He has not made a private commitment. He will not decide until tomorrow [Monday]."

"Contrary to what people believe, it's going to be an extremely difficult choice for Tim tomorrow. I thought it would be a little bit easier. He has so much info on all these schools. He knows everything. That was the whole purpose of this recruiting process."

Tim Hawthorne will announce his college decision at The Club in Homewood at 4pm.

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