It's not uncommon that California will recruit players with family ties to the program -- Matt Cochran and Aaron Cochran, Marshawn Lynch and Robert Jordan, Bryce Treggs and Brian Treggs -- but Jeremiah Hawkins is a little different.
Even though Hawkins is two years younger than Jaylinn Hawkins -- who redshirted while injured this past season as a freshman -- he's actually Jaylinn's uncle. Jeremiah -- who scored an offer from the Bears last Monday -- is the kid brother of Jaylinn's father -- Jermaine.
"I am his uncle," Jeremiah said. "His dad is my brother. Crazy, right?"
"I get that question all the time, from everyone," Jeremiah laughed. "I get it all the time, so I'm used to it now."
Indeed. Jeremiah and Jaylinn did grow up together, and there relationship is more like that of cousins than the traditional uncle-nephew paradigm.
"I'd tease him about it, we'd kid around about it sometimes, and sometimes, I try to act like his uncle, and I boss him around," Jeremiah said. "We just laugh. He just laughs about it."
While Jaylinn Hawkins is a lock-down corner, Jeremiah Hawkins is a stud receiver, both on the inside and outside. At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, he's very much in the mold of a Melquise Stovall, and that's just how the Bears see him. This season, Jeremiah Hawkins played in just eight games, due to a foot injury, but still ripped off 40 catches for 867 yards, and 20 carries for 300 yards, scoring 12 touchdowns for Buena Park (Calif.).
"In high school, I play on the inside, but also on the outside; it just depends on the play call," Jeremiah Hawkins said. "For screens and stuff, I play inside, but if they want me outside to run a go or something, or comebacks, routes I know I can beat the DB, they put me on the outside. I do both. It really doesn't matter. Whatever I can do to get on the field as early as possible, I'll play."
Jaylinn Hawkins has told his uncle plenty about his experience at Cal, and Jeremiah was already very close with the coaching staff before he got his offer.
"I was really close with the Bears, and I was in communication with a lot of the coaches," he said. "We talk on a regular basis, starting sophomore year. After sophomore year, they really jumped on me. It just became stronger and stronger, and two days before Signing Day, they offered, on Monday.
"They were telling me that they had their 2016 class finished, and they were focusing on '17, and I was their top prospect. That's when they pulled the trigger. It was crazy. It was wonderful. Me and Jaylinn's relationship, he tells me a lot of stories about how it is, and just telling me how it's a family there, and it's a great school, all around, academically, athletically and just the people and the city and the students and the area. It's an all-around good school, he tells me."
Following his sophomore season, Jeremiah Hawkins attended a summer camp at Boise State, and ran a blistering 4.3-second 40-yard dash. When he returned from the camp, he had four offers.
"I was really surprised when they told me the time," he said. "I was like, 'Really?' After that, the coaches were on me, and they told me they wanted to offer me, but they were like, 'We know we can't get you. After seeing you do that, before your junior season, man, we have no shot at getting you. Just wait until all these colleges are looking at you.'"
As it stands, Jeremiah Hawkins has offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Utah, Washington and Washington State. While of course there's the family angle, Cal sees a bit more of a former Bear in Jeremiah Hawkins than they see his nephew.
"The receiver coach, he likes me in the slot, and that they need a guy like me to come in and catch the ball, and make a big play out of nowhere," Jeremiah Hawkins said. "The receivers last year, they were tall, lengthy receivers that could catch the ball down field and run good routes, but they never really had anyone with my type of skills, since DeSean Jackson. They're hoping they can get me up there to do that for them."
The comparison could be scary, for one so young, but Jeremiah Hawkins is quick to say, "No, no, no. Not at all."
"It's a pretty good feeling," he said.
With so many high-profile offers already, the family angle with the Bears is certainly one that pulls Jeremiah Hawkins, but it's not insuperable.
"That's one thing that definitely is going to make a big difference in my decision, especially having Jaylinn being up there, and having his perspective of being out there and his experiences, and he tells me how it really is," Jeremiah Hawkins said. "He's not some random person that I met on a visit. He's actually family. He tells me how he sees it, and he'll tell me if it's the best decision. It's definitely a big part, and the relationship with the coaches. I've been talking to them for a long time, and I've gotten to really know them, and they've gotten to really know me. That doesn't make them a leader, because, right now, all schools are equal, because I haven't taken all my visits. I want to take all my visits before I start putting schools and ranking them, and doing that stuff, but I definitely like them, a lot. I definitely like them a lot."
Spring ball is "definitely" a time when Jeremiah Hawkins wants to visit, if he can't get up for the upcoming Elite Junior Day next week.