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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Exit Interview: LB Brandin Hawthorne

'Exit Interview' is a concept started last year at WolverineNation in which we chat with Michigan players who will not be returning to the Wolverines' football team next season about their careers.

Brandin Hawthorne was one of the small gaggle of players former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez recruited from Pahokee, Fla., and from the beginning, he showed potential.

A special teams stalwart, Hawthorne had 63 tackles, three tackles for loss and an interception in his career. He is now making a run at professional football.

Q: What moment stands out for you in your career?

Brandin Hawthorne
Brandin Hawthorne showed promise, but had a disappointing career at Michigan overall.
Brandin Hawthorne: Probably the moment that stands out in everybody’s eyes when they look at me. I don’t really have a moment because I treat every play as my last play so I cherish every play. But at the same time, I think last year’s night game against Notre Dame, the crucial stop against Cierre Wood in the backfield on third down, that would be the highlight.

Q: After that play and then Eastern Michigan, where you led Michigan in tackles, did you feel like you’d see a lot of time? 

Hawthorne: I thought I had a shot ever since my freshman year. That wasn’t even the case. My case wasn’t even about me, but playing for Michigan, helping Michigan out the best way possible and being a team player, being a player that could be counted on whenever we needed it.

Q: How would you describe your career?

Hawthorne: It wasn’t what I wanted. But like people say, the hand that you’ve been dealt is what you’ve got to play. I was dealt a bad hand and I tried making it into a good hand.

Q: Did you realize it as your career was going on but did that hit you in the last month or so when it was over?

Hawthorne: I could say probably my senior year. It hit me my senior year. Not during much of my college career because during my college career, I thought I was going to leave Michigan as an All-American, to be honest.

Q: Was that kind of your thought process the first three years? You saw bits and pieces of time even as a freshman.

Hawthorne: Freshmen and sophomore came under a whole new coaching staff. I knew my time was going to come after a while but after the staff got rejected, I didn’t know what to expect.

Q: Did you think of transferring at that point or were you confident you’d still make an impact?

Hawthorne: I thought about transferring a lot during that time. At the same time, I thought mostly of my education aspect of graduating from the University of Michigan. I knew I was a great player and could play with anybody in the country because that’s the type of person I am and that’s where I come from. That wasn’t a question, about my football ability.
Q: What was this year like for you?

Hawthorne: It was tough. Sitting behind guys who were younger than me, who I watched every day. It was tough watching, especially when I knew I had what it takes and deserved to be out there, it was tough to see those guys out there.

Q: What was the low point for you? This year? The way everything ended?

Hawthorne: I would say both. The entire season, not being able to display my abilities on defense but at the same time, I made a promise to myself I would help the team in another way and that was being a special teams captain and being the best I could be in that role.

Q: What was that like to deal with? To process?

Hawthorne: I’m not the type that puts his head down. I just made a positive of it and took on another role as a leader of the special teams, which I showed leadership and dominated on special teams.
Q: How do you feel you did on special teams this year?

Hawthorne: I was dominant. I helped my team out a lot. I feel like if I had played in that South Carolina game, that Ace Sanders dude never would have taken the return to the crib. I was a huge factor on our special teams.

Q: Did you watch the South Carolina game or could you just not watch it?

Hawthorne: I watched it.

Q: Was it tough?

Hawthorne: In a sense, but at the same time I felt we shot ourselves in the foot.