Hawkins Checks Out South Bend

When Travis Hawkins received his invite to Notre Dame's junior day, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound four-star athlete from Gaithersburg, Md., really wanted to make the trip happen.

"I was like this is something I can do," Hawkins said. He holds 13 scholarship offers from the likes of Florida, Oklahoma, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, Rutgers, Michigan State and Virginia Tech. "I really wanted to go out there and see what it's like. I want every school that's recruiting me, to get a chance to see me and me see them in person.

"I called one of my little league coaches and he said he'd take me out, and we just had a good time."

Notre Dame hadn't been in much contact with Travis Hawkins, but Irish assistant coach Ron Powlus keeps in touch with his Quince Orchard High head coach.

"My coach is a big Notre Dame fan," Hawkins said. "He talks about Notre Dame a lot. He said if they offer me, he hopes I put them in my top schools, because he loves Notre Dame."

Hawkins visit didn't do anything to hurt the Irish's chances of that.

This past Saturday was Hawkins first time on Notre Dame's campus. He got into town around midnight, and out to campus by eight in the morning.

"It was nice," Hawkins began. "Before we were supposed to report to the athletic center at 10:30, we went to the book store and got some stuff, and walked around campus and went to the church and stuff, and went to the Grotto. It was nice. We lit a candle and said a little prayer."

"Everything was top of the line. It was real nice. I got a chance to sit down and have a one-on-one with (Corwin Brown). He was telling me how I could come in early and play because a lot of corners will be leaving.

"He's a real cool guy. I liked the drills he was doing with the DBs and stuff. His DBs are really physical. That's a part of my game, I'm real physical. We sat down and talked for awhile. Hopefully I stay in touch with him and he stays in touch with me, and we go from there."

From there meaning a scholarship offer.

"They want to see a little improvement in the classroom, that's what I'm doing," Hawkins explained. He reported a 2.85 GPA, and added that he is taking the SAT in May. "Once they see improvement, they'll offer me."

In helping Quince Orchard to a 14-0 record and state championship this past fall, Hawkins played all over the field. He had 29 carries for 259 yards (8.9 avg.) and four touchdowns. He added 12 receptions for 286 yards and five more scores.

On defense, Hawkins and his 4.42 speed had 23 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. He was named all-county, all-Met and all-league.

Most programs are recruiting Hawkins as a cornerback.

"They like the way I break on the ball and how physical I am and how I come up and hit," Hawkins said of Notre Dame. "They also like me on offense. Coach Powlus was talking to me about receiver. I asked him if they've ever had a guy go both ways in their program, and he said coach (Charlie) Weis had Troy Brown going both ways with the Patriots, so it's possible. I'm not looking to start both ways, but I'd like to play both ways if it's possible."

At this point, Hawkins doesn't have any favorites, but Notre Dame is definitely in the mix.

"I'm going to sit down and think about the schools I've seen and like," Hawkins said. He has also been to Maryland several times, Syracuse, West Virginia and Rutgers. Trips coming up are to Florida, Penn State and Virginia Tech.

"The players at Notre Dame were cool. I got a chance to talk to Jimmy Clausen a lot. If this is who I'm going to be around the next four years of my life or more, and this is who is going to be advising me, I liked it a lot."

Hawkins also met fellow Irish recruit Carlo Calabrese.

"We talked a lot," Hawkins said. "He's going to be down at Penn State. He seemed real cool and has an offer from Notre Dame, and said that he likes it a lot."

Hawkins could verbally commit somewhere before his senior season, but he said he wasn't sure yet.

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