As reported by Cincinnati.com, four-star defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins (Archbishop Moeller, OH) is down to two finalists in his recruitment- Cincinnati and Penn State.
Hawkins had originally planned to commit back on May 10, but as is common in the recruiting world, that plan changed. It wasn't because he was unhappy with his options, but rather he was too enamored with multiple options to feel comfortable making an absolute decision. Because in his mind, a verbal commitment truly is a commitment.
When we spoke with Hawkins back in late-March, here's what he had to say about that decision.
"The thing that I always believed is that when I commit, I want to be 100%. I don't want there to be any question when people look at my Twitter or people ask me questions, I don't want there to be any kind of discrepancies there. At the same time, I don't have a problem making sure the opportunity is best for me. The reason I pushed my May 10th date back is because I didn't want to be one of those kids that wasn't 100% comfortable and then continue to take visits. I don't want to be that guy, leading everybody on. I don't understand the point of that. I barely have enough time to go to football and do my schoolwork, I don't have time to fool all these different coaches and reporters, I have no interest in doing it. For me, when I commit somewhere, I don't know if I'll take official visits, I can't say for sure yes or no, but right now, I'd have to say no I wouldn't. Because when I'm ready, I'm ready."
Now, Hawkins has been able to take what may be the final step in his recruitment before making that commitment, in narrowing his focus to his top-two, notably eliminating national powerhouse and in-state option, Ohio State.
"I don't want to be a distraction to my football team," Hawkins told Scott Springer in the Cincinnati.com interview. "We're working hard together. I'm still taking my time. Cincinnati and Penn State are the two I'm looking at most. They're both home to me. I'm going to take my time. It's tough."
With high school practice now underway, Hawkins told Ryan Snyder of BWI that he has a date in mind to make his final decision.
“I’m planning to announce sometime around August 9th,” Hawkins said. “I’m not sure yet if it’ll definitely be that date, but I’m shooting for sometime around the second week of August. I’m still planning to do a video with the Players’ Tribune. It’s basically just up to me now.
Penn State currently is the overwhelming leader on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, but I believe this to be a much closer race than those picks would imply. Don't discount the fact Hawkins' has significant family ties to the University of Cincinnati. Not only did his father played for the Bearcats, but his mother was a track and field star as well.
Both Matt and I have picks in for the Nittany Lions, but Franklin and company will definitely have to make Hawkins feel the love in order to win out over the hometown Bearcats.