For Pahokee High standout Brandin Hawthorne, committing to Michigan was somewhat a leap of faith. Based on the testimonials of former teammate and current Wolverine Martavious Odoms, and the strong recruiting pitch turned in by Michigan assistant Rod Smith, the 6-1, 210-pound backer offered up his verbal. When he finally had the chance to see just how accurate their descriptions were last weekend, he didn't leave Ann Arbor disappointed.
"It was very entertaining… especially the game," Hawthorne said recalling the Maize & Blue's thrilling 27-25 comeback victory over Wisconsin. "I went into the locker room and I was talking to the players and stuff. It was loud. Very loud. All of the coaches were pumped up. Everybody was real excited because they needed that Big Ten win."
"I felt like a celebrity after the game," he continued. "People were coming up for my autograph. It was right after the game."
Like many 109,000 other observers in the stands, the feeling of euphoria Hawthorne felt after the game was far different from how he felt at halftime.
"Really I was like, ‘man, we've got to put another quarterback in there,'" he admitted laughingly. "I was mad when they came out of halftime and the quarterback as still in there. But he got it together."
Witnessing his squad get up off the mat like they did after the serious doubts about their ability surely called for a celebration. He got a chance to do so with Odoms and many of his other future teammates. Once Sunday rolled around, though, it was back to business. He used a little one on one time with the coaches to find out more about what his roll will be.
"I talked to all of the coaches (Sunday) before I left, said Hawthorne. "Me and Coach Rod sat in his office and he told me that #49 (John Thompson) is a senior and he is leaving this year. #8 (Jonas Mouton) will go to his (strong side linebacker) position and the position where #8 is at now (weakside linebacker)… that's where I'd be (competing). "
A topic that Hawthorne indicated he did not discuss was that of visits. At this point he plans to follow through on his original plan taking trips to a few other campuses.
The question that each of those school will surely ask is what can they do to knock Michigan off its perch. According to Hawthorne, even trying to do so is an exercise in futility.
"Really, it's nothing (the schools can do) because I'm going to Michigan," he stated.
So certain is Hawthorne of his commitment that he has teamed with Odoms and Vincent Smith to help convince teammate (and Florida commitment) Nukeese Richardson to join them in Ann Arbor. Thus far, Hawthorne believes they are making headway.
"I think he is going to take an official visit up to Michigan eventually," he said.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Hawthorne Richardson, and Smith in the months to come.