|Camden (NJ) Camden wide receiver Brad Hawkins (image via NJ.com)|
Hawkins is 6'1", 202 lbs. As a junior in 2014, he caught 51 passes for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns, ran 39 times for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns, and had 40 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 3 interceptions (all returned for touchdowns) on defense. As a sophomore in 2013, he caught 45 passes for 805 yards and 14 touchdowns.
ESPN: 4-star, 82 grade, #25 WR, #191 overall
Rivals: 4-star, #42 WR, #206 overall
Scout: 4-star, #38 WR, #224 overall
247 Sports: 4-star, 92 grade, #37 WR, #198 overall
Hawkins was offered during the Brady Hoke tenure, and things between the two parties were pretty rosy to begin. When Jim Harbaugh was hired, he didn't waste much time before trying to pick up where Hoke had left off. Harbaugh made a strong push for several kids in New Jersey, which had already paid off for Michigan with the commitment of Hawkins's teammate, Ron Johnson, Jr., last week. (Michigan also offered their 2017 teammate, center Cesar Ruiz). Shortly after Johnson's pledge, Hawkins announced that he would be committing on July 3. He also plans to visit Michigan on July 16, which was a giveaway that this commitment would go in favor of the Wolverines.
Hawkins is a decent-sized wide receiver; while not particularly tall, he has a thick frame that won't need much time to develop before he can contribute at the next level. He does not have blazing speed, but he is a smooth runner with a low center of gravity, so he can change directions fluidly without losing much speed. He shows good body control and is able to adjust when the ball is in the air, and he also has a knack for coming down with contested balls. He's not fazed by traffic, guys waving their hands in front of his face, etc. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is a strong runner who will get upfield and gain what he can while running through an occasional tackle or two.
On the negative side, Hawkins is not the cleanest route runner and will have to improve in that area in order to get separation from college defensive backs. He could improve his releases off the line of scrimmage, including using his hands to fend off physical corners. He also likes to catch the ball in his body when he's able, which is not a great habit; however, he does show an ability to catch the ball outside the frame of his body when necessary, so it should just be a matter of changing his mindset a little bit. Hawkins also has a little bit of a flamboyant streak that shows him taunting opponents, jogging across the goal line, etc., things that could get him flagged at the next level.
Overall, he is a strong pickup for Michigan's 2016 wide receiver class. Michigan needs an immediate influx of talent at the receiver positions, and he can be one piece of that. The Wolverines have some talented kids who have not been able to put it all together on the field yet, and if they don't show it by 2016, guys like Hawkins and Indianapolis (IN) Ben Davis slot receiver Chris Evans could push their way up the depth chart. I like what the Wolverines are doing at the wide receiver position. They could potentially end up with Hawkins, Evans, and Egg Harbor City (NJ) Cedar Creek wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell in the class, and that's a group that could be productive in similar ways to the Jason Avant-Steve Breaston-Braylon Edwards trio from the early 2000s.
Michigan is now up to 21 commitments in the 2016 class. They will probably take one more receiver, and that player could be Mitchell; Winchester (IN) Winchester athlete Kiante Enis could eventually end up at wide receiver or slot receiver, too. Many 2016 recruits have been using the #fab25 hashtag, and it's completely feasible for the Wolverines to reach that threshold or go beyond. We saw Ondre Pipkins announce his transfer earlier this week, and more dominos will fall before all is said and done. In theory, there are only 14 seniors graduating and thus 14 spots, but realistically, that number will continue to grow before and after the season.
TTB Rating: 80 (ratings explanation)