2018 Four-Star Defensive Tackle Aeneas Hawkins Could Be Next Cincinnati Moeller Star to Choose Ohio State

By Tim Shoemaker on May 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm
Four-star defensive tackle prospect Aeneas Hawkins.

Located in a football-rich state, the city of Cincinnati is one of Ohio's hot spots for prep talent. Eleven Warriors recently spent a couple of days in the Queen City and will bring you a series of Ohio State-related stories over the coming weeks. Come along for the ride, won't you?

CINCINNATI — Archbishop Moeller High School is one of this state’s top prep football programs. The Crusaders have nine state championships on their resumé, a number that ranks second all time in Ohio’s storied history.

So, it’s hardly surprising this high school football powerhouse has been kind to Urban Meyer and Ohio State in recent years. The Buckeyes signed Sam Hubbard out of Moeller back in 2014 and just two years later, they inked Jake Hausmann from the same program.

Next in line for Ohio State could be Aeneas Hawkins.

A four-star defensive tackle prospect, Hawkins is one of the Buckeyes’ top in-state targets for the 2018 class. He’s also considering Penn State, USC, Cincinnati and others, but Ohio State is one of the favorites to land his services.

“OSU is OSU, man,” Hawkins recently told Eleven Warriors. “You’re not going to go wrong with them and you know what you’re getting.”

In particular, Hawkins spoke rather highly of Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who reportedly made Hawkins feel like a priority on a recent visit to Columbus. Ohio State already has two commits on the defensive line for 2018 — five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent and four-star defensive end Brenton Cox — and it is still targeting other top prospects such as Micah Parson and Tyreke Smith, so it was a bit unclear how, exactly, Hawkins fit into the picture.

Johnson, however, assured Hawkins he was a player the Buckeyes wanted and Hawkins said who he could potentially play alongside in his class would be a factor in his college decision.

“Coach Johnson, in my opinion, is probably the best D-line coach in the country and it goes to show with his 10 guys or whatever this year who are probably going to be playing in the NFL this year and doing well,” Hawkins said. “A lot of this is connected so I want to know the people I’m playing with. At Ohio State, people like Vincent, Cox, those type of kids I know. I’m interested to see who comes and what’s going to be happening in that class.”

The hometown pitch from Cincinnati is certainly one to watch for in Hawkins’ recruitment, however. The 6-foot-3, 265-pounder said the Bearcats’ old staff didn’t recruit him much, but that all changed when former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was hired as head coach. That, plus the fact Hawkins’ father, Artrell, played his college football at Cincinnati and he described himself as being “a Cincinnati fan my whole life.”

But USC and Penn State are also contenders, as well. Hawkins said the Nittany Lions have probably been recruiting him the longest while his visit to California to check out the Trojans surprised and opened his eyes to the point he’s considering a return trip before a decision.

Originally, Hawkins planned to announce his decision on May 10, his birthday. He opted to push things back, however, and now says he’s targeting a commitment at some point this summer prior to his senior season at Moeller.

Hawkins doesn’t intend to rush into anything, though.

“I feel like when I know, I’ll know,” he said. “A lot of things were changing with coaching staffs and actually seeing who was interested and whatnot. I just wanted to allow myself a little bit of extra time to wade through some of that stuff and I’m really not in any rush.”

If there’s a word Moeller head coach John Rodenberg used most when asked to describe Hawkins, it was athletic. He is a versatile defensive lineman who has the ability to do quite a few things on the interior and that's why he's such a highly-coveted recruit.

“Aeneas is a work in progress but by the time he’s done, he can be very good because he’s very athletic. He’s super athletic,” Rodenberg said. “He’s going to need that one coach that’s really going to take him to the next level. It’s not a discipline issue, he’s just going to need that mentor.”

“But everybody on the team looks at him. He has that ability to hang with the starters, but I’m telling you what, he also has that ability in a heart’s beat to go down and hang out with the guys who don’t get in and fit in. He fits in. He’s a great captain. He has me A to Z covered.”

Hawkins has been everywhere and seen everything. He intends to make several more trips this summer before his decision to make sure he knows exactly where he wants to play his college ball.

It won't just be one thing that ultimately leads Hawkins to his decision; high-profile recruiting is a bit more complicated than that. But whatever school winds up winning the battle to land his services will receive one of Ohio's top talents for the 2018 class.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. You’re about to make a four- or five-year choice," Hawkins said. "I wanted to take my time so I can look at some things like that. I’ve been to the schools I’m interested in a lot and I’m still taking my time with that. I want to be around the coaches as much as possible before I make a decision so that I know who I’m working with for four years."

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