Sophomore defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins became a national prospect late last month when he landed a scholarship offer from Florida State.
Since then the Ohio product added offers from Florida and Kentucky and he’s hoping to add to that list this week when he visits Notre Dame on Wednesday and Ohio State on Saturday.
Hawkins spoke with Irish assistant coach Mike Elston shortly after landing the FSU offer and set up Wednesday’s visit.
“I had already committed to Ohio State to go to their spring game but I wanted to be able to fit in a Notre Dame visit before spring ball ended,” said the 6-foot-3, 260-pounder from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati. “Wednesday was really the first day I could do it so I decided to hop on that.”
Hawkins and his mother planned to head for South Bend on Tuesday to arrive in time for Wednesday’s 7:30 a.m. practice.
He hopes the Irish add to his offer total.
“That's something they mentioned to me before,” he said. “I think that's something we'll go into more when I get up there with them. I'm not sure what's going on with that but they told me they're really interested in me so we'll see what happens.”
Hawkins has a tie to the Irish.
As a freshman, Hawkins played alongside Irish defensive lineman Elijah Taylor, who served as a role model for his younger teammate.
Hawkins also grew up watching the Brian Kelly-led Cincinnati Bearcats.
An offer from Kelly and the Irish would certainly mean a lot to Hawkins.
“That would be huge,” he said. “No. 1, because it’s Notre Dame football and I know what kind of tradition they have there. No. 2, my favorite football team growing up was the Cincinnati Bearcats, so I'm comfortable with Brian Kelly and what he does and also Elijah Taylor is up there. That's a guy I've tried to follow and mold my work habits after a little bit. That would be huge to get an offer from them.”
Hawkins looks forward to seeing Taylor again.
“I've talked to him a little bit on Twitter but I haven't seen him in person since he left for Notre Dame. It will be good to see him,” Hawkins said. “My first day at Moeller, he was the first guy I saw. I knew who he was coming in so every day my freshman year I was trying to follow Elijah around so I could get better. He was probably the biggest leader I had here.”
So far, Hawkins is following in the footsteps of Taylor.
Both players have developed reputations as high energy guys who can chew up blocks and get to the quarterback.
“I think the biggest thing if you look at my film is every down I’m going to give you 100-percent,” Hawkins said. “I'm going to go out there and compete no matter what. I think the biggest key to my game is my high motor. I have good hands off the ball and I think I get off the ball pretty well.”
South Carolina, Georgia, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Michigan State are among the other schools showing early interest in Hawkins.