It is a fine line that Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High defensive back Chris Hawkins plans to walk while he is at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. It is a line that will paint him as a competitor as well as a confidant to the guys at his position and those that have not made up their mind as to what college to attend.
The invitation-only event will be held on June 22-24 at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta and play host to around 100 of the best athletes in America. Many of those players will be ranked above Hakwins.
That is a situation that does not sit well with the No. 9-ranked cornerback and No. 159 overall player in the country.
"I want to prove I am better than those eight guys," he said. "I want to earn a fifth-star but I also want to make friends while I am out there.
"I am competitive as anyone but I think this is a chance to make some friends, too."
It is this competitive streak that mixes with kindness which makes Hawkins believe he can shut down the opposition as well as get them to open up to him.
"On the field I am all business," he said. "But when we are in the hotel I will be looking to play video games and chill. If we are out for dinner and stuff I will be talking all those guys up."
He already has a list of guys he wants to size up.
"I saw (five-star cornerbacks) Kendall Fuller and Cameron Burrows were already signed up," he said. "I hope (Vernon) Hargreaves and (Leon) McQuay come, too. I want to see those guys for myself.
"I won't lie I want to be the best. Some people try to tell me there is East Coast bias or whatever, but if I don't go find out I won't know. I can't complain if I don't go and prove it."
Hawkins also said he has his list of people he is planning to talk to: his fellow USC commits and those he thinks he can pull in to the Trojan family.
"I talk to Max (Browne) and Kenny (Bigelow) a lot so I am glad they will be there," he said. "I met Kenny Lacy the other day and he was a cool kid so I will be excited to see him there, too."
It will be Hawkins' first trip to the South and he is already doing his research for the trip.
"There will be some sticky air come June," he said. "That's okay with me I think I will be fine, I'll adapt. It will be the same for everyone so I still have to do my work and shut them receivers down."
The weather, according to Hawkins, will not be a factor for him.
"My feet and hips are my strength," he said. "I may not be the fastest or the strongest guy there but I will be the best with fundamentals and I am the smartest.
"I think I will be getting about five picks. That should wake some people up."
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Mike Farrell's take
Hawkins is a terrific-looking cornerback on film, but camps are really a great way to evaluate this position because top corners can easily be avoided in game situations at the high school level. Hawkins has emerged as one of the top cornerbacks on the West Coast and in the country with some top camp performances this spring already, so getting to see him go against these top wide receivers and compare him to a few five-star cornerbacks on the East Coast will be a lot of fun. Hawkins has good size and is a terrific athlete.
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