"It was great," he says about the visit. "I really enjoyed myself. I think there were only like six recruits down there so I was the only receiver to come on an official this weekend and I got the chance to do a lot of one-on-one with the guys, Courtney Taylor, (Anthony) Mix, and Devin (Aromashodu) and Ben (Obomanu). So, I got to meet with the guys and hang out with them a little bit and I got some insight on what Auburn is all about.
"All of them basically said that they were not going to pressure me into signing with Auburn," he adds about what he talked about with the Tigers' receivers. "They were like, ‘That is not right. If you want to go to Auburn then you will chose it in your heart and pray about it.'
"The main thing was they just said to listen to your parents and they gave me advice and told me that if I needed anything to call them. We exchanged numbers and I really enjoyed myself."
He adds that he was very impressed with the fact that the players, especially the three graduating seniors, spent so much time with him.
"The best thing was just getting a chance to talk to the guys," the Homewood standout notes. "You know, it was a laid back weekend and a lot of the students were gone and that drew back from the nightlife a little bit, but just getting one-on-one time with every last one of the receivers and all of them giving me advice and telling me how Auburn really was when they got here, that is something that I really admire.
"A lot of people don't do that," he adds. "A lot of athletes that are going to the NFL would be like, ‘I could care less about recruits.' Well, these guys showed interest and they took the time out to talk to me for a little bit and just tell me how it really was."
He notes that having all of that access and interaction with the players really makes his official visit to Auburn stand out.
"I have got to rate it a 10 because just with the one-on-one time with the guys, and you rarely get that on these visits," Hawthorne explains. "Not only to get that, but you could tell that the guys were telling me the truth, and they only wanted the best for me because all of them have been in that position before. They could relate to what I am going through right now, but I would have to say it was a 10."
Recently Tim Hawthorne helped lead Homewood High to its third state title in his four years.
Hawthorne's father, Theo, also notes that he is very happy with his family's decision to move up the visit date. "We have already made a lot of trips to Auburn and the purpose of this trip was to see them up close and see things that normally we don't see," Theo Hawthorne says.
"We didn't want them to have anything staged. We wanted to see it in the raw. We talked to a lot of players this time. We got pros and cons. We talked to the coaching staff one-on-one. We had an opportunity to go visit them in their homes and sort of a behind the scenes look at what their life was like and what their philosophy was on certain topics."
Along with talking to and learning from the players, Hawthorne says that he also got to talk to the coaches as well. "I think this is the second time I have been in his office to talk to him and he is just basically echoing everything he has been saying all along," he says about meeting with head coach Tommy Tuberville. "How it is a great opportunity because they have got three senior receivers leaving that started, Mix, Aromashodu and Obomanu.
"So, it is a great opportunity there to come in and even learn from an experienced receiver like Courtney Taylor and also get in there and contribute to the team," he adds. "And with Brandon Cox being experienced like he is and showing the poise that he has all season this offense is looking pretty good and will surprise some folks next year."
Theo Hawthorne also notes that he spent a lot of time speaking with the Tigers' coaching staff as well. "Based on the information that we gathered I feel like we will be able to give Tim some valuable information," he explains.
"Things that he probably won't consider in the process because he is looking at other aspects of it, but from a parent's aspect we want to make sure we have certain things covered, too. We wanted to make sure that we asked the right questions so that we will be satisfied with the responses that we get and then we try and validate them by asking other questions that they are not aware that we really are trying to validate what they said earlier.
"From the standpoint of this visit, it was excellent," he continues. "I don't think there were any flaws that we uncovered and it has really enhanced their position, greatly. We left Auburn feeling better than we were when we got there and we have always felt favorable about the institution. So, they will be a hard contender and they will be really tough for other schools to knock them out."
His son adds that he also came away from the experience with a very good feeling about the Tigers' program. "I feel real good about Auburn," he says. "Auburn is up there with the elite group. I talked to my parents this weekend and came up with my top eight. I have got Alabama and Auburn in there, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Louisville and South Carolina. That is going to be my final eight and Auburn is definitely in there with the official visit. So, I just came away with more knowledge of Auburn and Auburn is looking in good shape."
Now, the talented receiver will take a break for Christmas before he returns to the recruiting trail for his final three official visits. "I don't know," he says about a schedule for those trips. "I know for a fact that I have one set for South Carolina, I don't know when. That is the only one I have set and the other two I have no idea, but those should come in the weeks to come."
However, the 6-2, 192-pound wideout notes that on his final three visits he will likely be comparing all of his experiences to what he found on the Plains over the weekend. "Well, basically just what I got on this visit," Hawthorne says about what he will be looking for to try and sort out his finalists and come to a decision. "To talk to the players, see what the coaches are saying--concrete, you know, seeing if, basically, all of them are echoing the same thing. That is pretty much what they are doing here at Auburn. Everybody just brought me back to the same thing. On these next three visits that I am going to take in January I am just going to be looking for the same thing."
Theo Hawthorne adds that there is still a long way to go in the process, but that he is very comfortable with everything he and his family learned about Auburn this weekend. "He is going to look at three other schools and that will determine whether we consider them seriously or whether they will be eliminated, but from the standpoint of this trip I left relieved knowing that if Auburn is his choice it is something that his mom and dad can live with."