With seniors Ben Obomanu, Devin Aromashodu and Anthony Mix all gone off last year's team Hawthorne will have a good chance to be an instant contributor on the field next fall for Coach Al Borges' offense.
While that played a big part in Hawthorne's decision, almost as much of a reason was because of one player who is back. Wearing a number 12 Auburn jersey during his press conference, Hawthorne says Auburn's number 12 is an important part of the puzzle that was his recruitment.
"He won my respect in the Georgia game," Hawthorne says of Auburn's Brandon Cox. "I was there and he threw that pass on fourth and 12 to seal the deal. That was something that won me over about Brandon Cox and his progression throughout the rest of the season. I look forward to catching balls from him in the future."
Hawthorne says he has also built a relationship with several people currently on Auburn's team and also notes Chette Williams was a big influence on his decision. Using them for gaining more information about the program and life as a Tiger, Hawthorne says that despite all that it still wasn't a slam dunk until one final moment by himself when it all became clear.
"I played against Tony Bell in high school and I've talked with him," Hawthorne says. "He gave me some insight about Auburn. I called Courtney Taylor, but I didn't get to him. I left him a message and told him I was thinking about going down there. People have been calling me all day, but I refused to answer it because I didn't know where I was going at the time. I had to realize from prayer and I did just in the nick of time before I stepped up to the podium."
With the tough part behind him, Hawthorne can now begin to prepare for next fall and his future at Auburn. One of the things he's anxious to bring to the table in 2006 for the Tigers is his ability to excel on special teams. A dangerous return man and also a solid cover man on kicks, the 6-2, 205-pounder says he's ready to do whatever it takes to get on the field next season.
"I'm looking forward to doing that, whether it be returning or as a gunner or something," Hawthorne says. "I'm looking forward to that and to doing the necessary things prior to when I go down there in July. I'm ready to get with those guys and get better on the field. I'm anxious to get started."
Before he puts on the burnt orange and navy blue for the first time next fall, Hawthorne will already be one of the most popular Tigers because of his recruitment and his high school career at Homewood. Before you think he's just going to rest on his laurels though, Hawthorne has a message to everyone at Inside The Auburn Tigers and Auburn fans everywhere.
"You better watch out because I'm looking forward to being an impact person and helping this team be in the BCS National Championship Game," Hawthorne says. "We've got a great team coming back and it's only going to get better with a player like me and a strong recruiting class we're putting together. I would just tell everybody out there to look out because you're going to hear from us for the next four years."