By Brandon Cavanaugh
The combination of cornerback Chris Hawkins and safety Tahaan Goodman has been a fruitful one for Rancho Cucamonga High School. It'll soon be time for the dominant defensive duo to take their talents to the next level.
With Nebraska needing help at both positions in a bad way, they may end up being just the cure for what ails the Cornhuskers as both players received verbal offers from Nebraska yesterday.
The 6’2” 190-pound Goodman holds other offers from Boise State, California, San Diego State, South Florida, UCLA and Washington State. The 6’0” 170-pound Hawkins doesn’t have the South Florida offer, but is carrying ones from Northwestern and Stanford, likely thanks to his 3.7 core GPA.
He made it clear that wherever he winds up, said school better have their professors ready to chat. “It doesn’t matter where I go. I’m looking for a great academic program.”
Goodman’s looking to keep his nose buried in the books come college as well stating that academics are a key factor in his recruitment, “because I want to get a good education and live a good life after football’s all over.” His mind remains open in terms of where he winds up as well.
“It’s still early, so I’m open to a lot of things,” he said. His mother is openly supportive of whatever her son chooses stating that no matter the location, she wants her son to find the best fit.
The duo is just as similar on the field as off it. Both are hard-hitting, quick and agile. When Hawkins suits up, he relishes the opportunity to humiliate a wide out. “I like to get up on them so they can’t breathe, so they know they’re not going to catch the ball. I like to see my receivers quit before the play even starts.” An appropriate attitude for a defensive back that goes by the nickname, “Man Man”
While Goodman and Hawkins both take pride in their overall play, there are some flaws in their game that they’re looking to clean up this offseason.
The soft-spoken “T-Dogg” Goodman wants to work on his overall performance, but with several seniors leaving his squad, his coaches have made it apparent that he needs to start speaking up.
“I’m a guy who leads by example, but my coaches say I need to become a vocal leader,” he said. Hawkins admits that he needs to continue strength training as his experience at cornerback is limited.
As they begin to review potential schools, aside from academics being at the forefront, tradition will also be playing a big role. Hawkins’ father hasn’t been shy about preaching the legend of the Blackshirts to his son.
“My dad’s been teaching me about tradition in a school ever since I was little about the Blackshirts and Nebraska,” he said. Hawkins also wants to make sure that his eventual choice has the proper equipment and atmosphere to improve his game. “When I go to a school, I have to feel like I can stay there all four years. I feel like Nebraska has great facilities. I looked it up and the school is magnificent.”
Both prospects think highly of the Huskers with Goodman commenting that Nebraska’s “a great system, school and program.” Two main points stood out when Hawkins was asked what comes to mind immediately about the Big Red - “The mighty Cornhuskers and Academic All-Americans.”
Coach Fisher is working to secure both prospects’ presence at Nebraska’s Junior Day, an event which is already boasting a tremendous roster. “He’s a great guy.” Goodman said of Fisher. “He really wanted me and Chris to be (at Nebraska’s Junior Day). I think highly of him.”
While the 2013 recruiting cycle has technically just begun, coaches have had their eyes on both defensive backs for a while now. The spotlight appears to be growing at an exponential rate.
Hawkins already has plans to attend Nebraska’s Spring Game, but getting both prospects to Junior Day needs to be a priority for a Cornhusker squad that badly needs not only depth at their position, but talent of their caliber.
Check back later today to see where Goodman and Hawkins fit on the Big Board!
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