The redshirt freshman from Homewood High School suffered an ankle sprain in Auburn's second preseason scrimmage a week ago and has been in recovery mode since then. He returned to practice for the first time on Wednesday night as his Tigers prepare for the Sept. 1st season opener vs. Kansas State.
"I didn't feel too good when I got back out to practice," Hawthorne says. "It felt like I am about 65 to 70 percent. I am just praying that everything will be all right by game time vs. Kansas State."
"I suffered a sprained ankle in Friday's scrimmage," he says. "I didn't think it was that bad, but I have been in the training room getting treatment every chance I have had to do that. Arnold (trainer Arnold Gamber) has got me doing stuff that I didn't even know they had and it has helped me tremendously. I am further along with my recovery process than I thought I would be."
Hawthorne notes that he is eager to get into a game after redshirting last fall. The wide receiver says he knows his assignments. "I am fine with the offense. I know it well and I know three positions so that is not a problem."
The defense held the upper hand in the first preseason scrimmage and the offense improved enough to rate the second scrimmage a draw.
"We have made progress as an offense," Hawthorne says. "Going into camp everybody was wondering how we would be. Our big thing was to become more consistent with everything and I believe that is happening.
"As a receiver corps we want to be more consistent with running routes, blocking and catching the football," he adds. "I think we have done that. We have had some dropped balls here and there, but I think we are coming together and improving."