Even though Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State Cowboys have beaten the Longhorns for two consecutive years on the football field, Mack Brown and his staff have been emasculating Coach Porcupine on the recruiting trail in recent weeks.
Northwest Mississippi Community College offensive tackle Donald Hawkins was committed to Oklahoma State before recently opening up his recruitment and becoming the 22nd 2012 commit for Texas, the fourth along the offensive line, joining Curtis Riser, Kennedy Estelle, and Camrhon Hughes. It was somewhat of an anti-climactic decision given that Hawkins essentially revealed on his Twitter account several days ago that he was set to become a 'Horn.
If the story sounds familiar, it's because the Hawkins recruitment was almost a carbon-copy of what happened recently with Athens athlete Kendall Sanders, another Oklahoma State commit who decided to become a Longhorn. So, as if it needed to be any more official, Stillwater has nothing on Austin. Except a T. Boone Pickens, but even a rich donor throwing money around every which way can't close the gap. Not even close.
Though the Longhorns have avoided recruiting junior colleges in the past, that has changed this season with the additions of offensive line coach Stacey Searels and defensive tackles coach Bo Davis, both of whom have connections to junior colleges as a result of their time coaching in the SEC. Those relationships helped open the door with the 6-5, 320-pound Hawkins, who is intrigued with the possibility of being able to come in and play right away.
Expected to enroll for the spring semester, his ability to work with the team should allow him to fulfill the significant expectations that are being placed on him by a coaching staff that sold him hard on their belief that he can indeed step in and play. Whether he plays left tackle or right tackle remains to be seen, but the major news is that the Longhorns filled perhaps their biggest overall need in the class by landing Hawkins, who should allow Trey Hopkins to move back inside to his natural guard position.
The 15th-ranked player in the JUCO ranks by Rivals, Hawkins was sold on the program because of the opportunity for early playing time and his relationship with Searels, choosing the Longhorns over a variety of offers from across the country, including a handful from the SEC. His coach mentioned his flexibility ($) (perhaps the most important attribute for an offensive lineman) when discussing his strengths with Orangebloods and said that Hawkins has "NFL-type ability" and "huge upside."
Even though the commitment has been expected for some time now, it's still extremely major news for the Longhorns, who seem to be generating some late recruiting momentum heading into an important recruiting weekend, as a handful of high-profile visitors will be in Austin for the team banquet in several days.
donald hawkins 6'5 320 left tackle (via nwccrangers)