Since he was in fifth grade, Kierre Hawkins wanted to play football for Ohio State. On Feb. 3, Hawkins dreams became a reality as he faxed his national letter of intent into the offices at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Hawkins, a 6-foot-4, 220 pound four star tight end from Maple Heights High School near Cleveland donned a scarlet Ohio State hat at his signing ceremony alongside 11 of his high school teammates who were also signing their own NLI. However, it seemed that Hawkins was always smiling the widest of them all.
When Hawkins was a high school freshman, he told incoming varsity head coach Devlin Culliver that he wanted to play for Ohio State. After Culliver made a call to the Buckeye coaching staff plugging his young star, Hawkins said he knew if he worked hard he could make it a reality.
“When he came to me and asked me what college I wanted to go to, then he called them and told the coach, it really opened up my eyes. It showed me that this really can happen,” Hawkins said. “It feels great that I have finally achieved my goal. All my hard work has paid off. It feels great. I dreamed of this day, and it finally happened.”
Growing up near the Cleveland area, Hawkins said he grew up watching the Buckeyes with two of his favorite players being quarterbacks.
“When I was playing quarterback, I liked Terrelle Pryor because he was a big dude like me,” Hawkins said. “I used to watch Troy Smith and his old games, and I like the No. 10, (Smith is) why I wore No. 10 (in high school).”
Hawkins, who verbally committed to the Buckeyes in October of 2014, originally committed to play tight end for position coach Tim Hinton.
Hinton was assigned to a senior level executive director for football relations/special assistant to Coach Meyer position, and co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner took over Hinton’s responsibilities coaching the tight ends in mid-January.
While he is not as close to Warinner as he is to Hinton, Hawkins said he is in constant conversation with his new position coach and trying to build a closer connection.
“Our relationship is getting better. I haven’t talked to him as much as I talk to coach Hinton, but now that he is my coach, he calls me like every week,” Hawkins said. “Like twice a week and we just chat. He is just trying to see how I am doing.”
Many are predicting that Hawkins could also play the H position in Ohio State’s offense, however he said that right now he is being grouped in with the tight ends.
Assuming the Buckeyes keep Hawkins at tight end, the Maple Heights product will have to compete to earn time on the field. Marcus Baugh, who received the most playing time of his career in 2015 is assumed to be the front runner, with redshirt-freshmen Rashod Berry and A.J. Alexander also on the roster.
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