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Hawkins verbally commits to GSU Eagles
Saying “it feels like the place for me,” the reigning Region 3AA Player of the Year and rising SCHS Gamecock senior Jermany Hawkins has verbally committed to play for Head Coach Willie Fritz and the Georgia Southern Eagles in the fall of 2016.
“It felt like the place for me,” said Hawkins. “My family and friends will be close so they can see me play. I like the program … how the coaches treat the players -- like another Screven County.”
In recent weeks, with a plethora of colleges making offers, Hawkins narrowed his final choices to Marshall, Troy, and GSU.
Both Troy and GSU compete in the Sun Belt with GSU being the defending conference champs in the Eagles first season in the conference after moving up to the FBS level. Marshall is a member of Conference USA.
In a strange twist, there was a point in the late winter and early spring when GSU was the lone eastern member of the Sun Belt not recruiting Hawkins.
“Once they got started, Georgia Southern has been very active here,” said SCHS Head Coach Ron Duncan. “Coach (defensive coordinator Jack) Curtis has been very thorough. They know Jermany well. With this commitment, Jermany can just worry with grades and having a great senior football season.”
In being named the region player of the year for 2014 in a vote of 3AA coaches, Hawkins led the region champion Gamecocks in tackles, being in on 115. That number includes 12 for losses and six sacks. He also forced three fumbles and blocked three kicks.
Occasionally lining up in the offensive backfield, Hawkins rushed for 227 yards on a mere 21 carries and scored four times.
Asked what position the Eagles have talked about Hawkins replied, “linebacker -- the same position as now. Some coaches have said maybe running back. Linebacker is where I really want to play.”
Duncan also was pleased at what this early commitment means for the Gamecock program.
“I think we are now firmly on the recruiting radar,” Duncan said. “We have seniors like Malik Prescott, Eric Heyward and JT Hodges getting a lot of looks from folks and there are a lot of the Class of 2018 already getting looks. There was a slow start to getting here, but I think we are here. It is not our job, but it is a part of it to help these kids get into college.”
Hawkins was also quick to thank his coaches, his teammates, and his teachers for their help, but “especially Mrs. (guidance counselor Mary Helen) Harrison for her help.”
What does Duncan expect from Hawkins this season?
“More of the same,” Duncan replied. “A lot of big plays like last year. One difference though is that I think he will have a bigger, stronger and faster team around him.”
Hawkins is in line to become just the fifth former Gamecock to play for the Eagles and the first to be actively recruited.
Most recently Dusty Reddick toiled at fullback and linebacker for the Blue and White, while others include Ezekiel Roberts, Audrell Grace and Frank Johnson.
All local fans remember that Johnson, who then offensive coordinator and current Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson was not at first interested in, snared the winning touchdown pass from Tracy Ham in Georgia Southern’s 1985 Division I-AA (FCS) National Championship. That would be the first of six national titles at that level.