"I'm sorry, but you're going to have to deal with me for the next four years," Hawkins told Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.
Hawkins, the No. 6 cornerback recruit in the nation, wrestled with his decision up until earlier this week when he called Mencarini and told him he was going to commit to Maryland.
"Two nights ago I was confused. I was like, ‘Should I commit? Should I not?'" Hawkins said. "But I felt like this was the place for me. My mom gets to see me play and my family. But I still had like a doubt in my heart telling me not to commit, just take all my officials and see what happens, but I just felt like I made the right decision."
Hawkins's decision surprised at least one person in the audience.
"I thought his mind was going towards Penn State at one time," said Hawkins's dad, Thomas Addison, who put on a Maryland hat after the announcement. "He surprised me. He called me last night and said, ‘Dad, I'm going to commit to Maryland.'"
Addison added that the power outage that moved Quince Orchard's game against Sherwood two weeks ago to a Saturday forced the family to cancel its Penn State visit before Hawkins's decision.
Others, however, had expected Hawkins's decision for a while. "Ultimately I think he had a chance to see other places but in his heart and in his mind he always felt that Maryland was the best place for him," Mencarini said.
At times Hawkins thought it would be best for him to get away from home. But a few long plane rides later and seeing his friend, Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel, commit to Maryland, he realized that staying close would be best for his career and his family.
"We talked about going to the same school together," Hawkins said of him and Porzel. "He had Oregon, I had Oregon, but he said he didn't want to go that far. And I was like, ‘Yeah, you're right.'"
And, of course, his mom, Cheryl Hawkins, played a big role in his decision. She doesn't like planes, Travis said, and 45 minutes in the car is a far more preferable option. "Even if she has to catch the bus, she'll be able to see him," Addison said.
Hawkins also wants to continue the stream of in-state players going to Maryland. With him and Porzel already in the fold, Hawkins immediately turned his attention to teammate and Maryland recruit Jason Ankrah, who sat with the rest of the football team in the auditorium.
"Jason, you're my No. 1 recruit right now," Hawkins said after making his decision.
"[Travis] has made quite a name for himself and reputation in this area, and now he can continue that, much like Kenny Tate did and much like [Davin] Meggett did, much like some of these other guys that have been highly recruited and have gone to Maryland and made names for themselves early," Mencarini said.
Meggett will host Hawkins when Hawkins makes his official visit to Maryland the weekend of Nov. 21.
Hawkins plans to graduate early and enroll at Maryland in the spring. He is taking courses to replace some grades on his transcript (he reports at 3.87 GPA) and will take the SAT on Saturday.
Hawkins said Maryland's coaches told him he will have the chance next year to play in the nickel formation and challenge for a starting spot--Maryland loses Kevin Barnes and Richard Taylor at the corner position. They've also talked about using him on special teams and offense. "He's an offensive player, they keep thinking he's a defensive player," Addison said. "I hope they put him on both sides of the ball next year."
First, though, Hawkins will have to work back from an ankle injury he suffered against Sherwood. Mencarini said the team doctor examined Hawkins today and, while Hawkins won't play the next two weeks, he will start running next week and could be available for the playoffs.
After today, he has one less thing to worry about. And for Cheryl Hawkins, who sat in the second row, it's a big relief.
"I'm just glad he chose Maryland," she said.
Hawkins Announcement from Seth Hoffman on Vimeo.
Hawkins picks Terps (with video)
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