The Gators had a few obvious needs to be filled with the class of 2013: running back, offensive line, linebacker, and wide receiver. It is safe to say that Florida met those needs, at least in number of personnel signed. At the higly desperate positions of wide receiver and linebacker, the Gators signed five players and four players, respectively.
Of the five wide receivers the Florida Gators signed, three (Hawkins, Ahmad Fulwood, Demarcus Robinson) are outside wide receivers and two (Alvin Bailey, Chris Thompson) are slot wide receivers.
For those that follow me on Twitter, you know that I have always been a fan of Marqui Hawkins, out of Carver High School in Columbus, GA. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hawkins flew a bit under the radar, but brings a big, physical game to the Gators with solid speed and route running. The star ranking system is all over the place on Hawkins. ESPN ranks him as a 4-star and the 196th best player in the country. On the other hand, Rivals has him ranked as a 3-star and the 50th best wide receiver in his class along with 247Sports, who ranks Hawkins as a 3-star and the 130th best wide receiver in the country. Hawkins held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Southern California, among others.
While his rankings are all over the place, I am bullish about Hawkins. Let’s break down what the video says about Hawkins.
Hawkins has great height and a good, filled out frame. At 6-foot-2, Hawkins is at the prototypical height Will Muschamp and Brent Pease are looking for in the pro-style offense. He has a full frame and good strength that puts him ahead of most his age. He will bulk up more under Jeff Dillman, but he has a good start. He will likely add 10 pounds or so worth of muscle and bring his playing weight to around 200 pounds. With his size, Hawkins is tough to take down without a solid tackle.
Hawkins has a good vertical and almost seems more comfortable coming up with a tough catch in the air than on the ground. Now to compare, he is not like Jordan Reed that liked to jump to catch every ball. Hawkins moves his body well in the air and positions himself to catch nearly every ball thrown his way.
Hawkins seems to move well in space and has shifty feet that allow him to make most initial defenders miss. He gets off the line quickly, has quick acceleration, although he lacks elite top end speed. A good point in the video to watch Hawkin’s speed is on an end around at 00:48. Hawkins has good, not great, route running and can sometimes become sloppy in his lines.
Hawkins certainly plays with a lot of confidence, a bit of swag if you will.
Hawkins will have the opportunity to make an impact when he comes to campus. Demarcus Robinson is a better wide receiver than Hawkins, but not by much. If Hawkins can learn the playbook, he will play this year.