"It was a last minute decision," Hawthorne said of the trip. "I was thinking of going to the Florida – Florida State game, but couldn't do that because of the travel. I had a good visit there. I met with the coaches a little bit more this time. I enjoyed it."
Prior to the Cardinals kicking off against visiting Syracuse, Hawthorne spent time visiting with a few of the other weekend visitors, such as Deantwan Whitehead and Jeramy Devane, as well as a few of the recent U of L commits as they walked the turf inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
"They weren't really trying to recruit me or anything like that," he said. "I talked to Eugene [Sowell] for a little bit about him going there. It was cool to meet those guys."
The offense of Sowell's future team left a strong impression with the 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver, how also visited Louisville for the spring game and Bobby Petrino's QB/WR camp in June, just as it did this past April.
"It was good to get a first-hand look," he said. "That offense is so good because they can distribute the ball so well. It's good for a receiver and for a running back."
While he was impressed by what he saw, Hawthorne's focus quickly shifted once he returned home on Sunday afternoon. Hawthorne and his teammates have taken Homewood High School to its second consecutive appearance in the state's 5A championship game.
"I'm not nervous – being there last year helps," he said of the Friday evening game being held at Legion Field in Birmingham. "I know what to expect and it's more about leadership for this year."
Standing in the way of a perfect 14-0 season and a repeat as a state champions is a dangerous 13-1 Buckhorn High School squad.
"They have a big secondary, so I think we are looking to run against them," he said of the match up. "They are a good team, so it should be a pretty good game."
The next morning Hawthorne anticipates shifting his focus back to recruiting.
"I'm going to have a top eight on December 3rd," he explained.
Might Louisville find a spot among the coming list of favorites?
"They are looking good right now," Hawthorne said, adding that he doesn't expect to wait until national signing day to announce his college decision. "I won't wait until the last day. I'll probably do it sometime in early January."
In the state semi-finals win last weekend, Hawthorne pulled in 10 receptions for 136 yards and now has 67 catches for 917 yards on the season.