Chris Hawkins, a redshirt junior safety at USC, is making his own way. In a day in age when collegiate athletes have an image as selfish, wild, and immature Hawkins is anything but that. A Class of 2012 graduate of Rancho Cucamonga High School, Chris was a nationally ranked cornerback under Head Football Coach Nick Baiz. Chris along with high school teammate, Tahaan Goodman of UCLA, had his choice of schools to attend at the conclusion of their senior season.
For Chris, growing up in the Inland Empire, making the decision to attend USC was a no brainer. Former USC legends like Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart were heroes for kids growing up in Southern California, and Hawkins was no different. Starting out playing the offensive line in youth league football, it didn’t take Chris long to display his athleticism and IQ. Chris and his brother Armond Hawkins Jr. thrived in Inland Empire youth league football and under the guidance of their father, Armond Hawkins Sr., began to make a name for themselves.
Fast forward to Chris Hawkins freshman season at USC. With his brother playing at the University of Idaho, a feat in itself for two brothers to both play division one football, Chris had to make a name for himself with the Trojans. Younger than some high school seniors, Chris began college as a 17 year old freshman who was smaller and slower than other players on the team. What may have been too much to overcome for some players, was just a perfect challenge for Hawkins. Armond Hawkins Sr., early on taught his sons to be thinkers and hard workers. Chris relied on his father’s teachings to use his football IQ to make up the performance gap on the field. By the start of the 2015 season, a position switch to safety was all that Chris needed to show that he was ready. What took place was a breakout season for Chris, where is hard work in the gym, football IQ, and leadership all came to maturity.
Entering his junior season, Chris is in full command on the field and in the classroom. Hawkins is the leader and elder statesmen of the USC defense and is also a USC graduate. In May of 2016, Chris earned his bachelors degree in Public Policy. A feat that speaks to Chris’ drive and discipline to be a positive example. His education is not over, Chris plans to earn his masters degree from USC by the time his football career is over at USC. In the Inland Empire, Chris along with current and former USC Trojans such as Vianne Talamaivao and Su’a Cravens give hope to high school athletes that they can make it too. Chris also gives back with his time, mentoring aspiring college athletes in the Ground Zero organization that his father created to help high school athletes get to college.
With two full seasons of eligibility left, the future looks bright for Chris Hawkins as a professional athlete and as a professional. Hawkins loves the diverse group of students that he has met in college and feels that it has helped him become a better person and global thinker. Son, brother, student, athlete, teammate, and you now can add the title graduate to that of the talented and wise Chris Hawkins.