PRAIRIE GROVE -- Senior offensive lineman Will Hawkins signed a national letter of intent to play college football for Henderson State, of Arkadelphia, on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Hawkins was accompanied by his parents Jeff and Beth Hawkins, of Prairie Grove, during the signing ceremony representing the transition from high school to college athletics.
"Will wants to go on as much as any kid," said Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier.
During his senior season, the 6-3, 320-pound Hawkins played both center and tackle on the offensive line as well as defensive tackle helping Prairie Grove reach the state 4A quarterfinals for the third straight year in 2017. With Hawkins opening holes the Tigers rushed for 3,471 yards averaging 7.3-yards-per-carry scoring 37 touchdowns on the ground.
"Will showed his versatility moving from tackle to center and doing both jobs," Abshier said. "Last summer he went to a camp at 340 pounds. A coach said to get down to 320. He did it in surprisingly quick time and dropped his weight to 320."
In Prairie Grove's Sept. 8, 41-21, win over Vian, Okla., Hawkins moved inside to play center as an equalizer for the Wolverines' 350-pound defensive tackle.
"That was a hoss of a kid Vian had and Will handled him," Abshier said. "That was quite a change going from a 185-pound center to a 320-pound center. Will made a difference."
"Will has always been the big guy who got a block," Abshier said. "Will is starting to decide to up his game. (Like he is saying) 'I want to play my size and give it a better effort on all ends.' He's much improved. (Against West Fork) he made some heavier blocks. He used to just make a block. Now he's like, 'I'm going to finish this guy off.'"
West Fork outside linebacker Taylor Poplin (6-1, 205) has decent size, but he was no match for Hawkins, who pulled from left tackle as the lead blocker for wingback Collin Bryant, who was lined up behind him. As Poplin came up to try and make a tackle, Hawkins executed a monster block. The block sent Poplin tumbling, clearing the way for Collin Bryant to run unmolested up the middle to the endzone 30 yards away. The score was Prairie Grove's fourth touchdown and gave them a 26-0 lead 33 seconds into the second quarter. The Tigers coasted to a 40-6 win playing reserves in the second half.
On defense Hawkins plugged gaps in the middle recording 16 tackles, 1 sack and 1 hurry. He earned All-Conference honors as a senior.Sports on 04/04/2018
Print Headline: Hawkins Tabbed By Henderson