During the summer Hawthorne broke a bone in his foot and wasn't able to begin full practices until the week of the West Virginia game won 41-30 by Auburn on Saturday.
Hawthorne was on the opening kickoff receiving team for the Tigers and then stayed on the field with the first offense at wide receiver.
"I was surprised I was in the starting lineup when we got the ball on offense," he said. "I knew I would be on the kickoff receiving team."
Hawthorne saw most of his action in the first half and nearly picked up a key first down in the second quarter on the receiving end of a Chris Todd pass that went off his finger tips with a West Virginia defender pulling him down. The capacity crowd booed in displeasure, looking for an interference call."
"I thought it was interference--Coach (Trooper Taylor) told me I have to make that catch," Hawthorne said.
How was it to be involved in such a strange game delayed more than an hour by lightning and a deluge of rain? "None of that bothered me," Hawthorne said. "I just wanted to get on the field and contribute any way I could."
In other news and notes from Auburn's 41-30 victory over West Virginia:
*Because of a heavy downpour before kickoff, Spirit's pre-game flight had to be cancelled. The rain was so heavy it was difficult to see the stands from one side of the stadium to the other. The AU band played the National Anthem from the stands. West Virginia's band made the trip and both bands played halftime music from their seats in the stands.
During the heavy pre-game rain, music to "Have You Ever Seen Rain" was played with spectators singing a loud rendition of one of the all-time classics.
*Kickoff was delayed one hour and three minutes until 7:50 p.m. A total of 3.75 inches of rain fell in slightly more than an hour before kickoff.
*In a departure from the first two games when Chris Todd, Antonio Coleman and Clinton Durst were captains, Kodi Burns and Walter McFadden served as captains against West Virginia. Also in a change from Auburn's first two outings, the Tigers won the toss and chose to kick off rather than receive. It took the Mountaineers only five plays to score on a 60-yard drive.
*Morgan Hull's kickoff into the end zone in the second quarter was Auburn's first touchback of the season.
*Auburn surrendered its first sack of the season in the first quarter when Josh Taylor got to Chris Todd for a three-yard loss. Todd was sacked twice by the Mountaineers.
When Noel Devine scored West Virginia's first touchdown, it was the first time this year the Tigers did not score first. Auburn trailed at the half (21-20) for the first time this season.