Larwenceville (GA) Central Gwinnett running back Johnathan Hawkins has five offers and every one of them is from a major program.
NC State's early efforts at communicating with Hawkins on a consistent basis could be exactly what it needs to hang with the big boys in this case. Hawkins has offers from NC State, Auburn, Florida State, Penn State and Arkansas. Two of those schools were in the national championship last year. Arkansas is known for producing running backs and Penn State is having as much recruiting success these days as almost anyone. So it has been important for NC State to take their own path in recruiting Hawkins.
"I talk to NC State the most. Well I talk to Florida State and NC State the same so they're standing out a little bit," Hawkins said.
The running back will visit Auburn this weekend and that trip should give him a good idea about how much interest the Tigers have and how high he might be on their recruiting board. He visited Georgia last weekend but they haven't offered yet. Hawkins does expect Georgia to offer in the spring because that's the word he has received from their coaches.
He still has a lot of visits he wants to take but Hawkins has already been to NC State and that trip did a lot for him. Two weeks ago he made the trip to Raleigh for a scrimmage and came away impressed with what the Wolfpack has to offer.
"That was the first time I had been there and I liked the practice. Meeting all the coaches and everything, I thought it was a good atmosphere. I had been talking to Coach Nielsen about every week and all their coaches are cool. They all treated me as if I was family already. They talked to me in the running back meeting before the scrimmage so I got a feel for how they do things."
Other players that attended the scrimmage also commented on how much a central focus the ground game was. For a running back like Hawkins that was important to see.
"They ran the ball a lot and as a running back you like to see that. I watched their backs and I think I can go in and play, if not as a true freshman then still as a freshman."
Hawkins is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com.