Sarkisian, 'Hawkins really improved'

USC coach Steve Sarkisian says it was cornerback Chris Hawkins who was the standout redshirt freshman of spring practices...

USC cornerback Chris Hawkins discusses spring practices...

USC coach Steve Sarkisian was asked Thursday during a Pac-12 coaches conference call if he had any standout redshirt freshmen at spring practices. Sarkisian didn't hesitate for a moment to answer with the name of defensive back Chris Hawkins.

"I think [he is] one kid who really improved from the beginning of spring ball to the very end," Sarkisian said.

Hawkins entered USC as a Scout four-star cornerback. He redshirted the 2013 season.

Through USC's 15 spring practices, Hawkins took reps with the first team opposite returning starter Kevon Seymour. Hawkins first team opportunity came by way of injury to returning starter Josh Shaw. Nevertheless, Hawkins made the most of his time.

"He is the one who stood out to me of all guys on either side of the ball, quite honestly."

"From all accounts from the people who were here previously, he's really matured mentally and physically. His body has really changed," Sarkisian said.

"He is the one who stood out to me of all guys on either side of the ball, quite honestly."

Later in the teleconference, Sarkisian added Max Browne to the short list of redshirt freshman standouts.

Browne lost the quarterback battle to redshirt junior and returning ten-game winner Cody Kessler this spring, but Sarkisian remains optimistic about the former Scout five-star's potential in the program.

Sarkisian lauded the fit of Browne into his up-tempo offensive scheme.

"I thought Max had a tremendous spring," Sarkisian said. "I thought he showed tremendous development not only physically but mentally.

"To Max's credit, he is an unbelievable competitor and he continued to compete with Cody all the way through and I really believe when Max's number is called, at whatever point that is, he is going to play great football for us."

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