NCF On The Trail: Chris Hawkins

Wadood decides to head for Cal

July, 2, 2013
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Four-star athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is bound for Berkeley.

Previously committed to Arizona State, the four-star defensive back gave his verbal pledge to Cal on Tuesday at The Opening, choosing the Golden Bears over 13 other scholarship offers. Wadood, who decommitted from Arizona State on June 25 following a five-month pledge to the Sun Devils, became the ninth member and sixth in-state prospect in Cal’s 2014 class.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete picked up offers from hometown schools USC and UCLA following strong performances at the schools’ camps last month, but he intends to experience college life away from Southern California, according to a source close to his recruitment. Wadood has shown versatility throughout his high school career, playing mostly safety but also starring at cornerback, running back and receiver.

Wadood’s commitment is yet another important pickup for Cal coach Sonny Dykes and his staff. The Golden Bears also have ESPN 300 receiver Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) in tow and, despite a poor 2012 season, are in the running for a number of the state’s other highly coveted prospects.

Cal has two players on its roster, defensive lineman Todd Barr and receiver Darius Powe, who are from Lakewood (Calif.), where Wadood played his first two years before transferring.

The local schools, meanwhile, figure to keep recruiting Wadood until the very end, especially given their needs in the defensive backfield. UCLA may have been Wadood’s most recent offer, but assistant coach Demetrice Martin has proven to be relentless in the past and will continue to pursue him. The same goes for USC, which is in desperate need of cornerbacks in this recruiting cycle after signing only Chris Hawkins in the 2013 class.
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Even with dynamic two-way athletes Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) and John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) lining up with the offense Monday in the first day of The Opening, the defensive backs were a standout group as it relates to USC recruiting.

Roommates Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), as well as 2015 defensive back Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), four-star cornerback Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and four-star safety Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School of Nova South) all turned in good showings during one-on-one drills. Brown, the nation’s No. 5-rated cornerback and No. 3-rated prospect in the state of Texas, also reached the SPARQ championship finals after posting some impressive numbers in preliminary testing, including a pair of 4.35 times in the 40-yard dash.

Tony Brown
Blair Angulo/ESPNNo. 5 cornerback Tony Brown is still very interested in USC.
“On a daily basis, I try to contact coaches that recruit me,” said Brown, a world-class sprinter ranked No. 27 in the ESPN 300. “I try to contact every coach. I’m still open. My month of June was all track and field, so I haven’t had time to chill and go through everything. Whenever I get the chance, I’ll definitely start narrowing everything down.”
Fontana (Calif.) Summit effectively ran the ball to the tune of 200 yards per game last fall, so Class of 2014 receiver Erik Brown wasn't necessarily the primary option.

That might change this season.

Brown received his first two scholarship offers Thursday from Houston and Nevada. After waiting patiently the last two seasons, the 6-foot, 170-pound prospect was happy to start compiling his list.

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ESPN 150 defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) is no longer in limbo.


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UCLA on a roll in the secondary 

January, 23, 2013
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Good news keeps rolling in for a UCLA coaching staff that has been on a recruiting tear of late.

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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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The top cornerback at the 2012 Cal-State Game in Visalia, Calif., has been as advertised during the South team's practices this week.

ESPN 150 CB Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) has been a USC commit since April, but that hasn't stopped him from taking other visits and talking to other schools.

While there have been visits taken and rumors floating around for months, the No. 11 CB in the nation is still solid with the Trojans. Previous visits to Cal, Notre Dame and Washington did nothing to dissuade Hawkins from sticking with his dream school.

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USC coaches visit with Max Redfield 

December, 17, 2012
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LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans made a strong push for a former commit Saturday night.

USC coaches Lane Kiffin, Marvin Sanders, Tee Martin, Kennedy Polamalu and John Baxter met with four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) during an in-home visit ahead of the fast-approaching dead period. Redfield decommitted from the Trojans on Nov. 4, about three weeks after his official visit to Notre Dame, but USC has shown a willingness to continue recruiting the No. 4-rated athlete.

[+] EnlargeMax Redfield
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comUSC coaches are making a late push for ESPN 150 athlete Max Redfield, who decommitted from the Trojans last month.
The coaches left Redfield's home at around 10 p.m. on Saturday. Their main selling point during the meeting: location.

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Fitts ready to be a Trojan 

December, 9, 2012
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As fellow official visitors walked toward the field through the Coliseum tunnel on Saturday night, USC defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) looked up at the stands and envisioned a sellout crowd. He imagined himself in a USC uniform -- a thought that sent chills through his body.

Perhaps the biggest Trojans fan among USC’s verbal commitments, Fitts fulfilled a lifelong goal this weekend by officially visiting the campus.

“Stopping by the Coliseum on Saturday night was probably the best part of the whole visit,” Fitts said. “Growing up, it has always been a dream of mine to play at the Coliseum. Going through that tunnel gave me chills. I got caught up in the moment, picturing the crowd. Coach (Ed) Orgeron was there telling us to imagine taking the field and playing under these lights. ... It was amazing. I got a lot out of the visit. Being there on campus so much this year on unofficial visits, there’s not a lot of new stuff to learn. But talk to Coach O and being there this weekend gave me the feeling of already being enrolled. I can’t wait.”

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Breaking down the USC visitors 

December, 6, 2012
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The first big recruiting weekend has finally arrived for the USC Trojans.

With five of the six early enrollees and two other top targets scheduled to be on campus this weekend, the Trojans can start to put the underwhelming 2012 season behind them and focus on putting the finishing touches on the 2013 recruiting class. Here’s a rundown of who’s expected to be in Los Angeles beginning on Friday:

QB Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) -- Fresh off capping an undefeated high school season with yet another state championship, the record-breaking Browne will step on the USC campus for the second time since summer. The signal-caller thoroughly enjoyed attending his first game at the Coliseum on Nov. 10 when the Trojans defeated Arizona State, but this three-day trip offers the opportunity to bond with fellow early enrollees.

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Isaac not enrolling early at USC 

November, 29, 2012
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A bumpy senior season for four-star running back Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic Academy) has gotten bumpier.

Isaac said Thursday he will not enroll early at USC as originally planned, though not by his own accord. He committed to the Trojans in May and had voiced his intent to graduate early from high school, but recent obstacles regarding Joliet Catholic's policy will not make it possible for him to enroll at USC in time for the spring semester. Classes at USC begin Jan. 14.

"Just didn't work out down the line with a couple things," Isaac said in a text message.

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USC recruiting strong despite losses 

November, 21, 2012
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An underwhelming season has hardly affected USC’s recruiting efforts, as the Trojans have maintained their standing atop the new ESPN class rankings. Preseason aspirations of a BCS championship have since been deflated, but USC commits have, for the most part, stood firm.

[+] EnlargeChris Hawkins
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comA disappointing season for the Trojans hasn't scared off ESPN 150 recruits likes Chris Hawkins.
Aside from the unsurprising decommitment of four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) earlier this month, the Trojans’ bumpy campaign has arguably helped solidify the stance of some in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.

“I just want to see the Trojans win,” four-star cornerback commit Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) said. “We’ve been fighting hard battles. I just want to see them get back on their feet and win. It was very tough to see them lose. The defense, in particular the defensive backs, haven’t played very well. It just makes me want to get there even more. Hopefully, I can get there and help my team win games.”

Redfield, who USC has recruited as a free safety, decommitted a day after the disappointing 62-51 defeat to Oregon at the Coliseum. He attended the game, but the decision to reopen his recruitment had nothing to do with the Trojans’ record.

Redfield simply wanted to give Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU and Washington clean, unbiased looks. The success of the Fighting Irish under third-year coach Brian Kelly hasn’t hurt, but it’s not entirely why Redfield has decided to weigh his options.

Apart from that, there has been minimal activity since late July when USC bagged its final commitment. Yet, that steadiness could change as the Trojans limp through the end of the regular season following a loss to rival UCLA.


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USC offers juco CB Steven Nelson 

November, 19, 2012
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USC offered a scholarship to junior college cornerback and recent Georgia decommit Steven Nelson (Warner Robins, Ga./College of the Sequoias), College of the Sequoias coach Robert Dougherty said Monday.

The USC coaching staff requested Nelson's academic transcripts and extended the offer Monday, an indication that the Trojans are preparing backup options in case a decommitment occurs down the road. USC has commitments from two four-star cornerbacks in the current class: No. 7-rated Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) and No. 11-rated Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga). Hawkins plans to enroll in January and Ramsey has official visits scheduled to Washington (Dec. 7) and Alabama (Jan. 11). Ramsey will take his trip to Los Angeles for the weekend of Jan. 18.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Nelson decommitted from Georgia last week. College of the Sequoias (Visalia, Calif.) defensive backs coach Fred Zepeda told ESPN's DawgNation that Nelson expressed serious interest in Oregon State since taking an official visit to Corvallis on Oct. 6.

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Weekend Rewind: USC 

November, 12, 2012
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LOS ANGELES -- USC receiver commit Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) took an official visit to Washington State and was still in Pullman taking a tour of campus as of Sunday evening. He published a photo on his Twitter account of a group of Washington State fans holding up a sign that read, "LaRue come to the Zzu." LaRue said he was scheduled to return home Monday.

Trojans defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley), who intends to enroll early, took a trip to Washington for the Huskies' final regular-season home game against Utah, his first official visit. He is scheduled to take his official to USC on the weekend of Dec. 7, along with the rest of the early enrollees. Recent decommit Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) was also in Seattle for an official visit. He also expects to take trips to LSU and Oregon in the near future.

Four-star defensive tackle commit Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) took an unofficial visit to Cal, while four-star quarterback commit Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) was at the Coliseum for the Trojans' 38-17 victory against Arizona State.

Also attending Saturday's game were Class of 2014 offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), who made the cross-country trek for an unofficial visit, as well as Class of 2013 commits Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany).

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Chris Hawkins all in with Trojans 

November, 5, 2012
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While a mid-October visit to Notre Dame had an enormous impact on four-star athlete Max Redfield, ultimately leading to his decommitment from USC, it didn’t have nearly the same lasting effect on cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga).

Hawkins admitted that, yes, the trip to South Bend, Ind., was nice, but a return to the Coliseum for the Colorado game made him feel right at home. The four-star cornerback prospect was one of a handful of USC commits to attend the Trojans’ 62-51 loss to Oregon on Saturday, and Hawkins once again got that special feeling.

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