Last season, Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland rolled to a state championship and given the talent there, that comes as no surprise.
DT Zach Kerr signed with Maryland this past February but there's a couple of Quince Orchard juniors that the college coaches are salivating about for the class of 2009.
At the top of the list is do-everything athlete Travis Hawkins. The 5-11, 185 pounder with 4.42-second speed in the 40-yard dash was a standout all over the field in 2007. He made plays at running back, receiver, punt and kick returner and cornerback. On offense he tallied 259 yards and four touchdowns on just29 carries and chipped in 12 pass receptions for an additional 186 yards and five scores.
Playing cornerback on defense, Hawkins had 23 tackles, one pass breakup, one interception and one fumble recovery. For his efforts he was named all-county, all-Met and all-league.
To date, Hawkins has landed scholarship offers from NC State, Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Cincinnati. He's also earning attention from several other schools as well.
"Michigan has started to show interest and Florida is coming to see me in the spring," said Hawkins. "My coach talks to Notre Dame so they may do something. All the attention makes me feel good. I kind of wish I had gone to the camps earlier so I could've gotten recognized more but it's going pretty good right now. I've got eight offers before my season has even started so I feel good about going into my senior season."
With the versatility to play a number of positions, Hawkins could project on either side of the ball or special teams once he gets to college. He says that right now, he's leaning towards defense.
"I'm open to everything right now but I love defense because defense wins championships. But I also like to have the ball in my hands."
NC State is one school that would love to give Hawkins a chance to compete for a spot and they had the opportunity to host him on an unofficial visit this past weekend. He talked about his trip to Raleigh.
"I didn't get to see the campus but everything else was beautiful. It hardly gets cold down there which my family likes. I mean, we had fun. My other teammate that went down (Jason Ankrah), he really liked it. So, I'm interested in them and they're interested in me."
One of the early factors in the Pack's favor appears to be the relationship Hawkins and his family have established with the coaching staff at NC State. A big-time commit from the class of 2008 did his part to sell the Wolfpack as well.
"The coaches were cool and coach Willis, he's a real down to earth guy," said Hawkins. "Him and my parents talked a lot and they really liked him. I got to talk to Mike Glennon and he was telling me that the coaches really know what they're talking about. That was one of the reasons he went to NC State. He had offers from a lot of schools but people still ask him to this day why he didn't go to a bigger school and he was like, ‘because these coaches know what they're talking about and they're real cool'. So that's a main factor."
As for what position he might compete for at NC State, Hawkins said the staff has left it up to him.
"They told me they were going to let me go in and play whatever position I want to play."
While still early in the recruiting process, Hawkins continues to attract new interest weekly and he seems intent on seeing exactly what comes his way over the coming months. He says Maryland appears to be recruiting him the hardest right now and he's got a few additional visits scheduled during the spring.
"Since I'm close to Maryland, they've been showing me the most interest.," said Hawkins. "But I'm just going to go through the process and see what other schools have to offer. I'm going to Virginia Tech on April 19th, West Virginia sometime soon and I'm going to Penn State on April 5th for their junior day."
In addition to Hawkins, NC State is also very interested in his defensive counterpart, DE Jason Ankrah. Hawkins gave Pack Pride a scouting report of his talented teammate.
"He (Jason) means a lot to our team. He plays on both sides of the ball. He's really aggressive. I'm going to try to get him out to the Nike Camp with me so he can show his talent off against some of the top players on the east coast. He plays offensive line too but he's probably better at defensive end. Jason's personality is kind of in between being quiet and fiery but I think next year he's really going to show what he's made of."