Hawkins: "This is home"

The recruiting process seems to start earlier and earlier every year with schools seeking verbal commitments earlier and earlier. When a prospect commits, in the eyes of the fans, he is supposed to be loyal, shut it down, and stay away from other college campuses. Right or wrong, this is what folks expect when using the word commitment.

Marqui Hawkins surprisingly committed to the University of Florida in the spring and did so without ever visiting the Gainesville campus. With so much unknown to the young man, he stayed ‘committed' to the Gators and still visited other schools while camping in the summer. He often said his recruitment was somewhat open.

All of that changed Friday night. Hawkins showed up for Florida's big camp, Friday Night Lights, and left knowing that he made the decision that will stick with him forever.

"I thought it was good," Hawkins told FOX Sports NEXT about his first time on the Florida campus. "I loved the campus and loved the coaches. The campus was great, academics were great, and I love the facilities.

"This is home."

For Hawkins, everything he saw on Friday was much more than he expected from his future home. The prospect that has 20 plus offers from most of the big time programs in America came away thoroughly impressed.

"It went past expectations," he said of the visit. "I thought it was going to be good and it turned out to be fantastic. I loved it."

With all of that said, the question had to be asked. Are you still going to be visiting other schools? Hawkins let Florida fans and Florida assistant Brian White who is his recruiter, know the answer to that question.

"No sir, no more trips," he said. "I talked to Coach White and let him know… this is home."

Hawkins is up on the ins-and-outs of the new Florida offense and it was part of the allure of becoming a Gator. He also appreciates his future position coach, Aubrey Hill.

"I like the fast tempo, no-huddle offense, just get out there and throw the ball," he said. Coach Hill is a nice guy. He loves football. They say off the field he is a nice guy and on the field he is a different guy."

When standing next to Hawkins it is easy to see why he is so appealing as a receiver. He isn't tall but has good height, but is thick and very strong, a physical looking player to say the least. It is part of the team mantra now under head coach Will Muschamp, they want to get bigger and stronger as a team.

"They say they like I am a physical receiver that I can catch the ball good and have decent speed," he said of the Gator staff. "They say I am just a player."

And now Gator fans don't have to worry about losing Hawkins because he might stray off the path and visit another school. According to his parents, Darrell and Sandra Howell, there never was a chance of that.

They had nothing to worry about," Darrell said of the Gator fans worry. "It was just hard to get down here. We really enjoyed it. It is a nice campus, the coaches are real nice and we really enjoyed ourselves."

Just like home.

Fightin Gators Top Stories