Penn State flexes recruiting muscles yet again with 4-star DT Hawkins

Penn State recruit Aeneas Hawkins
Photo Credit: 247 Sports

At this point, what else needs to be said about the recruiting efforts of Penn State head football coach James Franklin?

As if his 2018 recruiting class wasn’t strong enough, Franklin and Co. added another big piece to their haul on Thursday when 4-star defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins verbally committed to the Nittany Lions.

Hawkins grabbed a lot of headlines on the internet with the way he announced his decision.

He committed via The Players Tribune. The site released a video Thursday where Hawkins and comic Gary Owen parodied the movie “Get Out,” with Hawkins choosing the Nittany Lions at the end of a clever, funny clip.

Hawkins was being pulled in a lot of different directions in the hilarious video — by his father Artrell (a Cincinnati and NFL alum), his uncle Wayne Jones (a Pitt alum) and his uncle Andrew Hawkins (a Toledo and NFL alum), all of whom wanted Aeneas to choose their respective alma maters.

While other friends and family also were making their push in the video, the younger Hawkins picked the school that was right for him.

He ultimately chose the Nittany Lions over other influential backers humorously portrayed in the video from Alabama, Ohio State and Kentucky.

Hawkins’ commitment follows the decision made by fellow 4-star defensive tackle PJ Mustipher on Monday. So credit should go to Franklin and his staff for building a stout future D-line and continuing to create a palpable buzz on the recruiting trail.

Hawkins, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive tackle from Cincinnati (Archbishop Moeller High School) is rated as a 4-star recruit, according to 247Sports. The site ranks him as the No. 284 overall prospect in the 2018 class and the 23rd-best defensive tackle in the country. 247Sports also regards Hawkins as the 12th-best football player from the state of Ohio.

He is a hard-hitting and active tackle. With solid footwork and tremendous strength, Hawkins excels in both run and pass defense. Hawkins uses his long arms and athleticism to rattle quarterbacks and ball carriers.

Here is more on his game from his high school coach, via Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports:

“His athleticism,” said John Rodenberg, Hawkins coach at Cincinnati Moeller. “He would be a phenomenal tight end, would probably be a great h-back. When he comes off the ball his first step is devastating. He can get into a guy’s pads quick.

“I’m sure there are not a whole lot of guys in college football now or in high school that get off as fast as he does.”

With the addition of Hawkins, Franklin’s class is holding steady at the No. 4 overall spot in 247Sports’ 2018 recruiting rankings and second in the Big Ten.

Considering the Nittany Lions are set to lose tackles Curtis Cothran and Parker Cothren after the 2017 season, Hawkins has a chance to compete for a starting spot at the position next fall. If he doesn’t start, anticipate Hawkins to make a contribution sooner rather than later.

With his pedigree and background, Hawkins has the makeup to be an impact performer at the next level. Look for Franklin and his staff — spearheaded by defensive coordinator Brent Pry — to get the most out of Hawkins before his time is up in Happy Valley.

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