As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.
Hawthorne was a huge get for Auburn in the 2006 signing class. He was a top-100 overall prospect, and he was the #3 prospect in the state of Alabama. It was rumored that his commitment caused several Alabama fans in the Birmingham area to cancel their insurance policies with State Farm, since that’s where Hawthorne’s father worked. It was big-time message board fodder at the time. Such was life on the Internet pre-Twitter and 2 years into Facebook.
Hawthorne red-shirted in 2006, then managed just 3 catches for 35 yards in 2007. Given Auburn’s short-comings at receiver in the mid-2000s, it should have been a red flag that a supposedly elite talent couldn’t manage more than that. Granted, he could have been affected by an offseason car accident that killed a friend while Hawthorne was driving.
With Auburn’s move to a spread offense in 2008, Hawthorne should have been in good shape to see a lot more balls thrown his way, and he was working with a simplified route tree. Instead, he managed just 2 receptions, both in the LSU game, before Tony Franklin was fired. He did manage 6 receptions under Ensminger in the second half of the season, but it still wasn’t what Auburn hoped to see from an elite recruit. After managing just one reception, on Homecoming, in an injury plagued 2009, Hawthorne graduated and decided to transfer to the University of North Alabama.
Hawthorne managed to catch on with the Calgary Stampeders for the 2013 season, but after a promising start, injuries appear to have ended his career.