Getting to know Tennessee's new recruits: No. 30, RB Josh Hawkins

Vol fans, meet Tennessee's No. 30 recruit, running back/linebacker/defensive back Josh Hawkins.

No, not that Josh Hawkins. Not the former Waterproof Blonde guitarist, either. Nor this guy. Not the skateboarder, or the offensive tackle from Alabama, or even the 2008 running back recruit from California.

No, this Josh Hawkins, Tennessee's very own running back. You know, there's a reason that Tennessee football fans yearn for in-state prospects. The rationale is that these kids grew up Tennessee fans and that because their blood runs orange, they will, all else being equal, give a better effort than will an out-of-state guy. Hawkins, from Loudon County, Tennessee, is one of those guys:

I was walking down the hall to the doctor this morning on my way to get a physical and [Loudon County] coach Harig called me and asked, "Are you ready?" I said, "Ready for what?", and he told me that Tennessee had just called and offered. It just hit me like a ton of bricks, it's exactly what I've been waiting for.

As soon as I got off the phone with coach Harig I called my dad and then I called coach Fulmer and told him I was committed, I didn't waste any time at all, I can tell you that. It's what I've always wanted. Like they say, it's a dream come true for me.

Hawkins barely nudged ahead of Kevin Cooper in the Rocky Top Talk Rankings due to a higher ESPN score (79 to Cooper's 75) and an extra two points from a West Virginia offer. Had the RTT Jars formula included a subjective component, however, he would be ranked much higher because after watching his recruiting videos ($), I'm convinced he's underrated. Hawkins possesses the patience to wait for the blocking scheme to present opportunities. He displays an ability to avoid tackles, break tackles, and break away from the pack with what looks like much better than 4.5 speed. The guy looks like a real sleeper to me.

Comparable to James "Little Man" Stewart ($), Hawkins has apparently been ranked the No. 24 running back overall by ESPN and the No. 20 running back in Tennessee ($) by Rivals. A three-sport star, he's never really trained year-round for football ($), yet he was All-District, All-Region, and All-County three times. Hawkins was named to TSWA first-team All-State for class 2A and was a 2006 American General Mr. Football Finalist, and he once had a 301-yard game against Lenoir City ($).

Hawkins primarily played running back for Loudon, and so, along with fellow 2007 signees Lennon Creer, Daryl Vereen, and Dennis Rogan, he may challenge Roy Olasimbo for the 4th-string running back position ($). However, he apparently played some defensive back as a senior, and could either be utilized in the secondary or, more probably, as a linebacker.

If you have the opportunity, watch Hawkins' recruiting video and then see if you agree with me. Josh Hawkins is underrated.

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