The USC Trojans are landing multiple top recruits at numerous positions of need. They found a quarterback to replace Matt Barkley in Max Browne, a running back to replace Curtis McNeal in Justin Davis, and two lockdown safeties in Su'a Cravens and Leon McQuay III.
Cornerback Chris Hawkins is going to be one of those prominent prospects that'll be able to come into spring practice and make a big impact. He signed early with the Trojans and is enrolled for the spring semester, so he'll be competing early and often to try and leap up the depth chart. USC is a little bit deeper at corner than they are at other positions, but Hawkins will definitely have a great chance to place himself in the mix.
The thing you notice most on Hawkins on tape is the ability to play close up on his receiver. Hawkins is able to play press coverage and get tight on his man and not afford him any opportunity to get open at numerous points where the quarterback and the wide receiver are trying to connect.
But Hawkins can also play zone coverage as well and still be adept at playing tight to the vest. He has great anticipation of when the quarterback is about to throw the football and can come back and defend the pass. His closing speed is exceptional and makes it incredibly tough for a receiver to play against him one-on-one.
Hawkins is also solid in run coverage. He slips the wide receiver blocks with ease and does a good job containing the edge and not letting the running back get to his outside shoulder, and usually ends up sticking the ball-carrier when he comes right at him.
With USC losing multiple secondary prospects including junior cornerback Nickell Robey, Hawkins could come in and challenge for a starting spot from day one.
Ratings: Four star cornerback
Vitals: 5-11, 170 pounds
Other offers: Over 20.
Recruitment timeline: Hawkins committed to USC back in April after multiple unofficials and a Trojan offer. Washington, Cal, Notre Dame and ASU all got visits but they were fighting for second pretty much the entire time.
Highlight video: Senior highlights via Hudl; junior highlights below.
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