2012 MLB Draft Q & A: Courtney Hawkins

We continue our series of 2012 MLB Draft Q & A's with an interview with prep outfielder Courtney Hawkins from Carroll High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Some scouts have projected him to be a late first-round selection on draft day. Inside Hawkins discusses his commitment to Texas and why he switched from Oklahoma, his approach towards the draft, how he learned to do back-flips and much more.

For a complete scouting report on Hawkins from National Baseball Expert Frankie Piliere, see: 2012 Draft Scouting Report: Courtney Hawkins __________________________________________________________________

Rays Digest: I wanted to get to know you a little bit as a player. I've read the scouting reports on you and you seem to have a lot of athleticism, a lot of power and you seem to be able to do it all on the baseball field including pitching.  Obviously you don't want to brag or anything, but if you could give me a little scouting report on yourself what would it be?

Courtney Hawkins: Right now, if I was a scout, I would say that I have: great power, power to all sides of the field, good body build, 6.5 runner,  play good defense in the outfield,  94-95 mph off the mound and have just good baseball instincts. 

Rays Digest: You have a really athletic body, almost like a football player, yet you are still a fast runner and you obviously have a strong arm. I think in the draft you are being looked at as an outfielder, but you certainly have two-way potential. With your commitment to Texas, are you going to be a two-way player there?

Courtney Hawkins: I signed as an outfielder/center fielder, but I still have might do a little pitching at the same time. 

Rays Digest:  Your being talked a lot about in the draft as possibly being a high selection, but you do have a commitment to Texas.  What kinds of things would you be looking for from an organization to sign with them? What things are important to you and your family for you to sign with a team as opposed to going to college?

Courtney Hawkins: It's always been my dream to go to college, but on the other hand, MLB has always been a dream too. That would top it off. As far as things that would make me sign, I really couldn't tell you off the bat. But for sure a college scholarship is in the plans.

Rays Digest: You were originally committed to Oklahoma and I think there was a big stink about that on the internet for awhile. You got kind of a bad rap about that. 

Courtney Hawkins: Yeah it got a little crazy there for a couple of days.

Rays Digest:  Can you talk a little bit about how important it is to have a good relationship with a coaching staff? It was obviously very important to you if it made you change your mind when the coach the left.

Courtney Hawkins: I understand that for the coaching staff in the business it's a job too and they have to do what's best for them. That's what made me understand it the most. But as far as that situation went, Tadlock [former Oklahoma assistant baseball coach Tim Tadlock] was just the guy that I talked to the whole time. He was the guy who talked to me off the bat and recruited me and was always at all my games. I didn't even really know any of the other coaches that were there. I started getting calls from these other coaches on the team and they didn't really see me play. I didn't want to go somewhere where they didn't see me play and just went off what they'd heard and hadn't seen me in person. 

Rays Digest: So it sounds like it was kind of an issue of loyalty and trust and comfort for you.

Courtney Hawkins: Exactly. 

Rays Digest: I can certainly understand where you're coming from. I saw a video of you on Baseball America doing a back-flip. Is that something that you do a lot? 

Courtney Hawkins: (Laughing) That actually just started this year. I had to do a senior pep rally for our school and while we were doing all the cheerleading practice and stunts and stuff , we started doing a little tumbling. The coach saw that I could jump pretty high and dunk a basketball and stuff, so he started teaching me day-by-day. Two days later I was doing front-flips and back-flips and layouts and stuff. It's pretty fun doing it, but you have to be careful at the same time. It was hard at first. It's pretty hard to do.

Rays Digest: Well maybe when your baseball career is over you can have a career in gymnastics or something. I also read that you are a very good student. Are academics something that is important to you? 

Courtney Hawkins: I'm definitely a good student. I don't fail classes. I'm an A/B student. College is definitely there for me. It's important to get an education. It's always been my parents' dream for me to get my education and mine too. If that's what God has planned for me, then I'll definitely do it. If that's not in his plans, it won't hurt me playing ball every day.

Rays Digest: Carroll High School, where you go to school in Corpus Christi, is a perennial power-house in Texas baseball. Do you think that playing for a school like that has helped you a lot as a player?

Courtney Hawkins: I think that playing in Texas at 5A anywhere is good. I talk to a lot of guys around the country and we're still playing right now, but a lot of other states are done already. Just playing in Texas in general, the competition here is just really good. 

Rays Digest: Like you said, you're mostly looked at as an outfielder, but you obviously have talent on the mound. Do you like pitching a lot? Or do you prefer playing the outfield?

Courtney Hawkins: When I first got on the map, it was for pitching. Everybody thought I was going to be a pitcher. I definitely thought I was going to be a pitcher. At the same time, I still knew I had a bat. As far as right now, I love swinging it and being in the outfield. 

Rays Digest: You've done quite a few national high school showcases> Are you planning on doing any pre-draft showcases once your high school season is done?

Courtney Hawkins: I'm not sure actually. That hasn't been on my mind too much. I know there's a lot of workouts out there, but I'll hopefully still be playing ball for a state championship here in Texas. If I'm able to make some then so be it. If I can't, I'll be playing for a state championship hopefully.

Rays Digest: So it sounds to me like at this point you're just letting the draft....

Courtney Hawkins: Play itself out.

Rays Digest:  Yeah. Just play itself out and focus on what you have to do now.

Courtney Hawkins: Exactly. Just take it day-by-day. I figure if I rush things, stuff doesn't turn out too good. I'll just take things day-by-day and focus on what I'm doing.

Rays Digest: Other than playing baseball do you play any other sports? What are your hobbies and things you like to do when you're not out on the field? 

Courtney Hawkins: I played football until my sophomore year and had quite a few offers for football and baseball. My junior year I stopped playing. I played basketball , I ran a little track. As far as hobbies go - down here in Corpus there's a lot of beach, so we like to do a lot of fishing down here. Me and my brother have competitions when I see him. Every time he comes home form college, anything we can get our hands into we do. Basketball, anything. If we can compete against each other, that's what we're going to do.

Rays Digest: Who's your favorite baseball team? What major league players have influenced you?

Courtney Hawkins: I couldn't tell you on a team. I really don't have a favorite team. I always liked players. Guys who have made an impact on me are: Ken Griffey, Jr,, Barry Bonds, Justin Upton I really like, Matt Kemp, Chris Young. Of course Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron. I love watching stuff on them and reading up them and learning about their history. 

Rays Digest: Who are some of the people in your life who have helped you along as a player and mature as a young man?

Courtney Hawkins: Honestly....a big thing that's inspired me is people who have always doubted me. My Dad and my brother and all my uncles have been there for me. My eighth grade year I switched my select team to the Houston Banditos with Coach DeLeon. That was probably one of the best moves I ever made going to play for him. He's a real straight-up guy. He and his brother know baseball. The Banditos organization that I played for is a really good organization to play for. 

Rays Digest: You were saying that you aren't really thinking about the draft, but do you have any representation and have any MLB teams contacted you at all?

Courtney Hawkins: I definitely have representation and I've talked to every MLB team so far. I'll talk to everybody and respect everybody, but I'm going to go out and play these last few games of high school ball I have left.

John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.


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