East Texas is renowned for the talent it produces every year, and the Texas Tech coaches have made a point of holding a satellite camp in the area since Kliff Kingsbury took over the football program.
One class of 2017 prospect who seemed to really stand out at this year's rendition of the camp was Austin Hawley, who was also defensive backs MVP at the ETSN combine last month, and enjoyed his time in Longview on Wednesday.
"It was pretty good. The coaching was good, which I expected. Big-time coaches at a big-time program, so I expected to be coached up a little bit. Coach (Kevin) Patrick, he likes to talk stuff to you, he's real cool. Coach Karl Scott, they all recognized me. We've been in contact for a little while. I really like the coaching staff as a whole, they've got a good thing going and I'm just trying to get an opportunity to be a part of it."
The Gladewater defensive back discussed his relationship with defensive line coach Kevin Patrick.
"We met during the evaluation period when coach Patrick came through. We've been in contact all the way thought then, we talk every now and then. He loves to talk stuff to you. I like that. We're cool. I ran a low 4.6 in the 40, and he said he clocked it as good as he could, he wanted a perfect number to see what it was for real."
Hawley received a bunch of positive feedback from the Tech coaches and is hopeful for an offer.
"All the coaches that I talked to told me that have a pretty bright future. He just told me to stay in contact with him and to maybe give him a call here in a little bit or tomorrow or whenever. We'll see how that goes. You know, I'm just hoping for the best. I'm not trying to jump the gun or anything, but if the opportunity comes, it'll be one I consider for sure."
Defensive coordinator David Gibbs is notorious for only extending offers to prospects that he's evaluated in person. He certainly did that with Hawley.
"Yes sir, he followed me around all the way through my drills. When we started out, he was over there with me. He's the DB coach anyways, so you know he's going to be with the DBs. But after a while, he said that he wanted to let the linebackers coach evaluate me. They all knew who I was. With me being a bigger DB, he probably wanted to see me work some linebacker. So he sent me over there, said to get a couple of reps in over there, followed me over there and watched me there. After that when we went into one-on-ones he told me to get a couple of reps in at linebacker, he stayed and watched, and then we went to DB and he followed me over there and watched. I can't tell you for sure that he had his eyes on me the whole time, but he followed me around and was kind of directing me on where he wanted me to go."
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound prospect was one circus catch away from a perfect camp. Bishop TK Gorman receiver Judah Bell, a good friend of Hawley's, was the one to spoil it.
"I only got to go against him just once, it was a post route. Now I played it just right, I played it perfect. Broke inside. Jumped up in the air, got my hands on the ball, and tipped it up for him. He got the catch back there in the end zone, and I was killing myself over that one. Me and Judah, and I had the pick, just had to make the catch, I tipped it up for him and he caught it."
The defensive back's day was so good that he didn't receive a lot of feedback from the coaching staff. He credits this to the coaching he received at previous camps, which he attended in order to prepare for this one.
"Really, I didn't really have too much. I've been going to a lot of camps here lately. I hit up about five or six camps preparing for this one, because this was one of my biggest ones, I love Tech. Obviously it's a big school, and I just wanted to be prepared. So I learned a lot of stuff from all the coaches, UTSA, all these different coaches. I didn't really get coached up too much today to be honest with you. He said I moved around pretty good for being my size and whatnot."
Hawley is obviously very high on Texas Tech, and is operating on a short timeline - wanting to have his commitment made and his recruitment shut down before his senior season starts.
"I just want to look at my options, but [Tech] would be a big one for me for sure."
He thought the turnout at the camp was fantastic,
"All the East Texas kids were there. Judah Bell, Traveion Webster was there, he was cool. It was a pretty good camp atmosphere. There weren't as many people as some of the camps I've been to, but as far as talent, the talent was there just like everywhere else I've been."
With the picture at defensive back beginning to take shape, Hawley will certainly be a top target for Tech fans to follow this recruiting cycle.
Austin Hawley holds offers from Louisiana-Monroe, Incarnate Word, and Lamar. He reports interest from Louisiana Tech, Memphis, North Texas, Texas State, and Texas Tech, among others.