While a mid-October visit to Notre Dame had an enormous impact on four-star athlete Max Redfield, ultimately leading to his decommitment from USC, it didn’t have nearly the same lasting effect on cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga).
Hawkins admitted that, yes, the trip to South Bend, Ind., was nice, but a return to the Coliseum for the Colorado game made him feel right at home. The four-star cornerback prospect was one of a handful of USC commits to attend the Trojans’ 62-51 loss to Oregon on Saturday, and Hawkins once again got that special feeling.
“Notre Dame Stadium isn’t as big, so the Coliseum crowd is much larger,” Hawkins said. “It was very loud in there. I was sitting with all of the recruits: Su’a (Cravens), Sebastian LaRue and Steven Mitchell. We talked about how we might help the team when we get there. USC fans are great. I love them. This loss makes me want to get there like 100 times more. I feel like I can help the defense. I feel like I can stick some of those fast receivers. We were playing zone, but I think I can stick those receivers one-on-one. We were playing zone and Oregon’s receivers were just running curl routes and out routes. I feel like I can help next year.”
As a cornerback, Hawkins said the Trojans’ defensive struggles were painful to watch.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Hawkins said. “We let it get away a bit in the beginning. Oregon went up on us quick. Their offense is just so fast. We just couldn’t react to what they were doing on offense. In the second half it seemed like we made some adjustments but we let them get too far ahead in the beginning.”
Hawkins, who at one time had aspirations to take an official visit to Oregon, said the disappointing result had no influence on his stance. He remains on track to enroll early and has scheduled his official visit for the weekend of Dec. 7.
“I’m not taking any more visits,” Hawkins said. “I’m done. I’m basically focused on high school football because before I get to USC I want a ring of my own. I don’t want to look at my friends and see them with rings. I’ve really focused. I’ve watched a ton of film on [first-round opponent] Corona (Calif.) Santiago. I want my own jewelry.”
Rancho Cucamonga (8-2) opens the postseason Friday as somewhat of an underdog in a bracket that includes CIF Southern Section Inland Division powers Vista Murrieta (10-0), Upland (10-0) and Corona Centennial (9-1). If Hawkins and Rancho Cucamonga have something going for them it’s the defense, which also features Arizona State-bound linebackers A.J. and Viliami Latu, as well as four-star safety Tahaan Goodman.
With Redfield no longer part of the recruiting class, Goodman is one of the top candidates to fill the vacancy.
“I still try to recruit Tahaan,” Hawkins said. “He likes USC a lot and I still recruit him every day.”