TANNER HAWKINSON, TE, 6'6, 235, 4.85, McPHERSON, KANSAS:
Tight ends are back in vogue in high school, college and pro football as two-tight end sets are not uncommon on any level any more. Last year, we watched as OU line up with three-tight ends in the formation on several ocassions. So finding a great tight end is always important to a teams' recruiting class, and that is why that Tanner Hawkinson is getting a lot of attention.
Hawkinson will be a three-year starter at tight end and a two-year starter at defensive end. Last season, Hawkinson hauled in 24 passes for 365 yards and nine touchdowns. And on defense, he finished with 30 tackles and two sacks.
"Everybody is recruiting me as a tight end," said Hawkinson, who admits he likes catching passes more than blocking at this point. "I really don't have anybody recruiting me to play defensive end. I like playing tight end a lot better and I think all the colleges that I am talking to see me as a tight end. I am pretty athletic for my size and I am pretty good at going up and getting the ball. I have reliable hands. I am probably not the quickest guy, but I know how to get behind most linebackers and find an open spot. I just have a knack for it and getting to the ball. I am sure it is going to be tougher at the next level, but I think I can adjust and continue to do the same things then that I am now."
Hawkinson also starts in hoops where he averaged 11.5 points per game. He can bench 220 pounds, squat 350 and he has posted a 30-inch vertical jump.
He has been offered by Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Colorado State, and has visited Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma unofficially.
"Probably my top school at this point would have to be KU," said Hawkinson. "Growing up in Kansas, KU and K-State are probably the two teams that most kids grow up being fans of. KU also only has two tight ends on scholarship right now and they are both seniors, so definitely when I graduate if I went there I would have a chance to play early, which is also a big deal."
Where does Oklahoma stand with Hawkinson at this point?
"They are definitely in the equation," said Hawkinson. "I actually just got through talking with Coach (Kevin) Wilson on Monday night, and he still made me feel like they had a lot of interest in me. They are definitely back in to the equation right now because they are obviously a big powerhouse and it would be quite the experience to go and play there. I went down there for one of their junior days and watched some film and they use their tight ends quite a bit. I went to the Junior Day when they played Texas Tech in basketball and I really enjoyed that visit. The facilities are really nice and the coaches are all pretty friendly."
What is most important to Hawkinson when searching for his college destination.
"Definitely getting an opportunity to play early is a big thing for me, then academics," Hawkinson said. "After that it is probably location of the school. I want to make my decision over the summer sometime before next season. I don't want to still have this hanging over me during my senior season. I want to be able to focus on my senior year and I don't want to have any of those troubles."
Hawkinson says he plans to attend the KU summer camp for sure and several others that he is unsure of at this time.
Hawkinson has qualified.