Donald Hawkins, the big 6-foot-5, 312-pound offensive tackle who committed to Oklahoma State in August, paid a visit to Kansas State for the Missouri game. Currently a sophomore at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatoba, Miss., Hawkins is a seasoned second year starter who could step in and play right away next season.
"My pass blocking is my biggest strength," said Donald Hawkins. "I've improved my run blocking, so now I don't think I have any weaknesses in my game. Working with Coach (Jim) Jones has made all the difference. He's a former NFL player with Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and he lettered at Notre Dame. The things he's taught me have made me a better all-around player. Coaches have told me that there's no doubt I'll be starting next year in Division 1."
Hawkins played his high school football at Rosa Fort in Tupelo, Miss. He held offers from Mississippi State and Southern Miss before deciding to go the junior college route. It was in early August prior to the start of the season that he decided to pull the trigger for Oklahoma State.
"I committed to the Cowboys very early on, so I wasn't 100-percent," said Hawkins. "The things I've found out about the program since and about Coach (Joe) Wickline have removed a lot of the doubt in my mind.
"Coach Wickline's a very popular guy in Stillwater, but he's been around and has a ton of experience putting major players into the NFL. After playing in his system for two years there's no way I don't become a better player and have a chance go to the NFL after college."
Another way to remove all doubt for Hawkins was to take a trip of two to other colleges to see what they had to offer. The Kansas State staff showed him the most attention, and he decided to make the trip to Manhattan with uncommitted teammate, Lance Ray.
"The coaches really wanted me to come up for a visit," said Hawkins. "They're all very nice people, and the team looks like they're getting better and will be a contender in the Big 12. No disrespect to anyone, but I didn't really see anything at Kansas State that would want to make me decommit from Oklahoma State."
Kansas State fans may recall Northwest Mississippi C.C. as the junior college where Daniel Thomas played before starting his career as a Wildcat. The Rangers are currently 3-3 with three games remaining on their schedule.
"I'd like to win a National Championship here," said Hawkins. "We started out No. 4 in the country, but we've dropped three out our last four to ranked opponents.
"My personal goal is be an All-American and be recognized as the top junior college player going to Division 1. Some other schools like USF, FIU, and Rutgers want me to visit. I'm haven't decided. Now I'm thinking I may just make my official to Oklahoma State in December."
Hawkins started all 10 games as a freshman for NWMCC and was graded as the team's best pass blocker. His mother, Kandice Kyles, starred in basketball for Independence C.C. in Kansas. Hawkins wears No. 51 for the Rangers and is set to graduate in December.
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