The Texas Longhorns do not reach into the Junior College ranks much, but the efforts have been increased as they look to fill needs in the 2012 recruiting class.
On Wednesday, Mack Brown and the Texas staff got just what they hoped for when four-star Northwest Mississippi C.C. offensive tackle Donald Hawkins gave the Longhorns his pledge.
"It's done. The quote is 'Hook 'em," Hawkins said. "I just wanted to get it over with. I'm ready to sign.
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"It was really the program overall, coach (Stacy) Searels and Mack Brown. I have a chance to play right away and compete for a championship. Now it's up to me to get a starting position, make sure the expectations come true. The goal is to get a national championship."
Hawkins, a 6-5, 320-pound two-year starting left tackle for the Rangers, is the Longhorns' 22nd commitment of the 2012 recruiting class, choosing Texas over the likes of Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Arkansas. He earned First-Team MACJC honors and is ranked No. 15 in the Rivals.com Junior College Top 50.
The standout offensive lineman was offered by Georgia, Mississippi St. and Southern Miss out of Tunica (Miss.) Fort Rosa High School and emerged on the national scene as a junior college prospect for his dominating play at Northwest Mississippi C.C. and his high end potential.
"He's a great talent. They don't make guys who are 6-5, 320 like that who can bend their ankles and move their feet like that. He's just incredibly talented," Northwest Mississippi C.C. offensive coordinator Jack Wright said. "He has a huge upside. He's only been in the weight room two years for us and he's put on 30 pounds. There's no telling what he's going to do at the next place once he gets into a defined program. He really does have NFL type ability."
Since taking an official visit to Texas on November 18, Hawkins has made it clear the Longhorns were his favorite.
"The chances of me playing here are very high," Hawkins told Orangebloods.com following his visit to Texas. "The expectations of me here are very high. I was impressed with the recruiting class they have coming in. By my senior year, the should be a national championship contender. That's something I want. Another thing that stood out to me was how the players embraced me. They made me feel welcome. They want me to come here, said they need me. They said the missing link is me. I was impressed by that."
Following his visit to Texas, Hawkins was scheduled to take an official visit to Oklahoma St., but did not take the trip. He did take an unofficial visit to Auburn for the Auburn/Alabama game November 26, and met with head coach Gene Chizik, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes.
Northwest Mississippi C.C. has seen several college coaches visit over the last few weeks to check in on the standout offensive lineman. Auburn, Mississippi, and others have stopped by the school recently. On Wednesday Searels stopped by to meet with Hawkins and that's when the commitment became official.
"I did it when I talked to coach Searles today," Hawkins said. "He came to see my mom and then talked to me. He wanted to make sure I was 100 percent."
In addition to Texas, Hawkins also took official visits to Kansas St. and Kentucky. He is on track to graduate in December and enroll at Texas in January. He will have three years to play two seasons as a Longhorn.