Country Green Turf Farm Recruiting
Dillon Junior Quarterback Brayden Hawkins Burst On Recruiting Scene In Strong 2018 Class in SC
By Billy G. Baker
Moncks Corner—With the 2018 crop of football prospects already loaded with talent, including potential number one over-all national prospect defensive end/linebacker Xavier Thomas (6-3, 235) of Wilson, there is one more emerging junior quarterback from Dillon High not named McCall.
Once again we would like to thank the Country Green Turf Farm located in beautiful New Zion, SC. Owned by two avid Clemson fans Nevin Goff and Chuck Floyd.
One of the junior players moving up the recruiting charts is 2018 Dillon quarterback Brayden Hawkins (6-3, 210) who has burst on the scene at Dillon after playing at York last season. As of right now (six games into the 2016 season) this is a revised Top 15 HSSR 2018 Player Rankings in S.C. and this is a very strong group of players.
The top 2018 SC players are currently: 1. Wilson linebacker Xavier Thomas (6-3, 235) 2.Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner (6-2, 200) 3. Stephon Wynn-DE-T.L. Hanna 4. Josh Belk-DT-Lewisville 5. Derion Kendrick-WR-South Pointe 6. Khalid Jones-LB-Byrnes 7. Jake Veneables-LB-Daniel 8. Justin Williams-WR-Fort Dorchester 9. Darius Rush-Ath.-C.E. Murray 10. Brayden Hawkins-QB-Dillon 11. Demarcus Gregory-WR-Byrnes 12. Israel Mukuamu-FS-Berkeley 13. Zareon Hayes-LB-Dillon 14. Kavesz Sherard-Ol-T.L. Hanna 15. EJ Humphrey-RB-Powdersville
This is a look inside emerging major college prospect Hawkins of Dillon. “I can’t say enough good things about our transfer quarterback Brayden Hawkins (6-3, 210),” said Dillon Hall of Fame coach Jackie Hayes, who once played in the Shrine Bowl as a quarterback. “Give him another year in the weight room and he will get stronger and have a lot of upper body strength. He is very poised with great feet and vision and he rarely makes a negative play.
“His decision making under pressure is unreal at times and his quarterback IQ is way up there,” said Coach Hayes. “He is the first one to practice and the last one to leave. You hope that good things happen to dedicated players like Brayden and we are thankful to have him and his family in Dillon.”
Hawkins transferred from York in mid-August and has started four games for the number one rated AAA Wildcats. He has completed 52 of 76 passes for 977 yards and 10 touchdowns on a team that runs out of a spread, but is a true 50/50 team between pass and run.
Hawkins has been receiving personal training the past few years from quarterback guru Steve Clarkson of Pasadena, California. He has been making the trip to California several times a year for extended training and his poise on the field reflects his top flight training.
Hawkins has been invited by South Carolina to their game with Texas A&M on October, 1. He attended a game at Marshall in mid-September and he is also hearing regularly from Purdue, Virginia Tech and Ohio among others.
“The move to Dillon has been good for me and my father is in the construction industry and he has a lot of ongoing projects in this area of the state right now,” said Hawkins. “I am becoming more comfortable with the system each week and Coach Hayes and his staff are great to work with. They push me and that it what I like.
“My goals center around the team first and it would be great to help Dillon win their fifth straight state title this season,” said Hawkins who can throw a football around 62 yards on a straight line. “Eventually I would like to get a scholarship to a major college and get a good education also.”
Hawkins has a 3.85 GPA in the class room.
He feels his strengths as a quarterback are reading defenses and knowing where he is going with the ball. “I use my feet to buy time under pressure and I can also scramble for a first down if I need too,” he said. Hawkins runs a 4.7 forty with a 230 pound bench and 315 leg squat.
His favorite college quarterback is John Rosen of UCLA and he is a big admirer of Tom Brady in the NFL because “he is a leader who presents himself in a positive way on the field.”
Hawkins comes along in the same class with 2018 Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner (6-2, 200) who has firm offers from both Clemson and South Carolina. Joyner is considered the top quarterback in the state in his class after starting for the Patriots since his freshman year and leading FD to the Div. I AAAA state title with a 15-0 record.
Through six games Joyner has passed for 1,456 yards and 18 touchdowns. Right now he has firm offers from Oklahoma, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Florida,
“All of my options are still open but I am mainly focused on helping my team win another state title,” said Joyner. “I just want to go where I can play and where I like the coaching staff. I am thinking about a sports management major or business or engineering. It doesn’t matter where I end up I just want to contribute and help a program win.”
In his career Joyner has already passed for nearly 5,000 yards. This past summer Joyner camped at Clemson, South Carolina, and North Carolina State.
Thomas has more than 30 offers early in his junior year at Wilson. He is 6-3 and 240 pounds and has been moved along the defensive front but could also play linebacker in some schemes.
After his sophomore year he had firm offers from schools like Florida State, Tennessee, Nebraska, Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson and the list has grown with each passing week.
Thomas has all the tools of a future NFL player. He has true 4.5 speed, a 325 pound bench and in the class room he is an honor student. Players with his potential do not come along every day. He reminds some of former Wilson stand-out Lawrence Timmons who went to FSU before becoming a first round draft pick to the NFL.
“I am keeping my options open at this time,” said Thomas to the HSSR a short time ago. “I am in no hurry to make a decision that will have a huge impact on my life.”
News from the 2017 class was favorable to South Carolina as Wando’s Ortre Smith (6-4, 215, and 4.63) committed to the Gamecocks on his birthday. Smith is widely considered the top player in the 2017 class in South Carolina.
“I had a good relationship with all the coaches who recruited me but Coach (Brian) McLendon was always honest with me,” said Smith, rated as the top prospect in the 2017 class in South Carolina by the HSSR. “He told me they were trying to elevate the program and that it would take getting players like me in order to compete in the SEC and build up the program. I felt really needed at South Carolina and I am graduating early so I can enroll in January to start learning the play book.”
Smith’s final four came down to USC, Clemson, Georgia and North Carolina with Florida in the final spot. He plans to major in either psychology or physical education at USC.
During his sophomore and junior years Smith caught 84 passes for 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns. This year he is playing receiver on offense and free safety on defense.
“I enjoy playing both ways and I not concerned about stats at all this year,” said Smith. “My focus is to help the team win and do well in the class room so I can graduate early.”
Smith is a big bodied receiver who does a good job catching the ball at its’ highest point and he often wins the 50/50 balls because of his size and strength in the air. “I know I have a lot of work to do and I am working on getting out faster on my routes and just getting more speed,” said Smith. “My strength is going up and getting the ball in tight coverage and beating the defender to the ball.”