The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
When you grow up playing football in Ohio, if the Ohio State Buckeyes come calling at any point during your high school career, there's a pretty darn good chance you're going to listen.
The Hawkins File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 6-4/225
- Pos: TE
- School: Maple Heights (OH)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 11 (TE)
For Kierre Hawkins, he wasn't entirely sure when or if he'd get the chance to play for the Buckeyes, but as the summer before his junior season played out, the dream started to feel a bit more like a legitimate possibility. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder picked up offers from Kentucky, Toledo, Bowling Green and Illinois after a series of midsummer camps and was officially on Ohio State's radar.
After playing three games as a junior, Hawkins received the news he'd been waiting for: the Buckeyes were offering him a scholarship.
"It means so much to me to be in this position, it's always been my dream," Hawkins said. "But I had to work for it and I got it. I knew it was on me to get this offer and I got it."
Offered on September 30th of 2014, Hawkins made the Buckeyes sweat it out–three weeks–and committed to Ohio State on October 18th during a game-day visit to Columbus. He never visited another school, never entertained any other conversations: Hawkins knew where he wanted to be.
"It's the dream. My dream school. I always wanted to go there. It's my dream," Hawkins said. "I can't pass up on my dream, I've been working on it for forever."
The country's 11th-ranked tight end thinks he could play a number of different roles for the Buckeyes and do things in their offense that are similar to very successful players from Urban Meyer's days at Florida.
"I honesty see myself playing like a combination H-back/tight end," Hawkins told 11W readers. "I'm able to play multiple positions because I'm an athlete who is very versatile on the offensive side of the ball. I think I can be used kind of like Aaron Hernandez or Jordan Reed was when coach Meyer coached them at Florida. "
Hawkins believes he can make impact at Ohio State no matter where he plays and the coaching staff has been working hard with him during visits he's made over the last year. It's paying off.
"Every time I come down here they tell me I gotta work on something and I work on it and then I come back down and see what else I gotta work on," Hawkins said. "So I can just be up here and just play. That's all I want to do is play. That's all I want to do."
That may not all Hawkins wants to do. As a kid growing up in Northeast Ohio, his dreams of donning the Scarlet and Gray were shaped by 2006 Heisman winner Troy Smith. He believes he's got a responsibility to inspire others.
"I will leave a legacy on, and off the field, to make other people's lives better," Hawkins added. "I always wanted to be a Buckeye, since the 5th grade. I remember watching all those great players–my favorite players in my favorite colors– this was a goal that I set for myself. Now, I'm living it. I honestly want to leave a legacy everywhere I go. I can't wait to just live my dream and make something of it and make my family proud."