Top recruit solidifies commitment to UF


Florida commit Marqui Hawkins waits his turn to run a drill during Friday Night Lights at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on July 27.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.

Friday Night Lights may have meant more for Marqui Hawkins than anyone else.

It was the first visit to Florida for the receiver commitment, who was anything but solid on his pledge. The ESPN300 member had seen six other schools since his May 14 decision and planned to take all five of his officials in the fall.

So Friday's trip was make or break for the Gators — and they delivered.

“Everything was top-notch,” Hawkins said. “The campus, the coaches, the academics center, the locker room, the facilities, the food — everything. I've been to other schools and they can't compare to Florida. I'm done taking visits.”

Hawkins, who was one of the few UF commits who competed in the camp, enjoyed the “awesome” atmosphere at Friday Night Lights.

“I loved it,” he said. “It felt like gameday and I was playing in The Swamp. With all the people out there and the music playing, it was a lot of fun.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder worked out with Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill and he made Hawkins feel at home.

“In a year I'll be getting coached by him, so it was nice to experience what that will be like. When we were up in his office, he was real calm and laid back. But when we got on the field he was a different guy. He's so hyped and I like that because that's how the coaches are at my school,” said Hawkins, who is from Carver High School in Columbus, Ga.

While in Gainesville, Hawkins met most of his future teammates and they hit it off right away.

“I enjoying meeting those guys,” Hawkins said. “We got to know each other and I exchanged numbers with all of them so we can keep our relationship going.”

Hawkins said he's proud to be part of Florida's class, which is now ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN.

“It feels great to be in one of the highest ranked classes in college football,” he said. “We're building a dream team so we can start winning championships again.”

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