With the college football season nearing the final stretch, Javian Hawkins has officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. The versatile tailback had a prolific run at Louisville, but he's now ready for the next chapter of his career.
Hawkins penned a heartfelt letter to his coaches, teammates and fans at Louisville back in November. He said they were instrumental in his development as a player.
“After much prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided to opt out of the remaining 2020 season and begin preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft,”
Thank You @vincetyra & @UofLPresNeeli for allowing me to showcase my talent here at big red! Toughest Decision I’ve had to make in a while, it has been nothing but a blessing and my heart will forever be here in Louisville ❤️🔴❤️#L1C4🥊 pic.twitter.com/YSQRuwsFdb
— hawK (@JavianHawkins) November 16, 2020
">Hawkins wrote. “Over the next few months, I will be finishing my semester at Louisville, while also preparing for the Draft. My experience at Louisville has been northing short of amazing. My teammates, coaches, professors and the entire Louisville family has prepared me for my next chapter in the NFL. I will forever be grateful to everyone who has contributed to my journey at Louisville.”
We sat down with Hawkins to discuss his decision to go pro, his thoughts on Scott Satterfield being linked to other jobs, the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry and much more. Let’s get this interview started.
The Spun: Let’s revisit your decision to opt out. What went into that decision to declare for the NFL Draft, and how do you feel about that decision about a month later?
Javian Hawkins: My roommate had tested positive [for COVID-19], so I was in quarantine for about a week and a half. My mind was wondering - COVID-19 was the reason I opted out - and my mind was pretty much set before this year that whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’m going to go do this, especially if I have a shot. Then when I went to talk to my strength and conditioning coach and my head coach, they told me all the possibilities of where I could go and how much money I could make, so I was like this [declaring for the draft] is what I want to do.
The Spun: What was the biggest challenge this season due to COVID-19?
JV: The toughest thing was locking all the way without knowing if we were going to have a season or not. Other than that, we went hard and trained like we were having a season. But that was the biggest challenge, not knowing until two weeks before the opener if we were actually going to have a season. When we were training in the summer, we were just doing that to stay ready in case we actually got a season.
The Spun: It seemed like you improved as a receiver this season. Was that a point of emphasis for you?
JV: Not necessarily, I believe the coaches tried to get me involved more and making me that option. I played wide receiver in high school. My receiving skills have always been there, but it finally presented itself this season.
The Spun: Scott Satterfield has been linked to the South Carolina job and has taken criticism for it. Do you think he remains at Louisville and what are your thoughts on that situation?
JV:Like the team is saying, Coach Satterfield is a great guy. Unfortunately it is a business that we’re in. After high school it’s not all fun and games anymore, and some people prep their kids and let them know it’s a business. I can’t really fault Coach Satterfield for whatever he wants to do. I’m behind him because I know him as a guy. He’s a good person and he means well. He isn’t doing anything to hurt the players, so we got to support him like he supports us.
The Spun: Take me behind that Louisville-Kentucky rivalry. How intense is it?
JV: It didn’t really hit me until we played them because I didn’t play much in my freshman year. I knew the rivalry was real, but I didn’t get my chance until the following year, and we got beat so it wasn’t fun. I had a decent game, but I didn’t get to enjoy it because we got beat. That year made me realize how intense this rivalry. I was telling my teammates ‘We got to get back at UK. This s**t is for real.’ This is an old school rivalry. Two sides of the city really hate each other’s guts, and the Kentucky fans would honestly say some crazy stuff to us.
The Spun: Over the years we’ve seen plenty of RBs shine. Who’s your favorite to watch, or model your game after?
JV: I love the game, so honestly I love all of them. In particular, back in high school I wanted to be like Dalvin Cook when he was back at Florida State. But I don’t really try to mirror my game after one specific running back, I just try to see what things I can take from multiple guys to make my game versatile.
The Spun: You might have the coolest nickname in football, PlayStation. How’d that happen?
JV: I believe it came from my Pop Warner days in Brevard County. I know my dad used to say it because I played the game too much, but my teammates said it because of the moves I have on the field. Everybody just ran with it and would be like ‘Hey, PlayStation is coming down here to play.’
The Spun: If you could pick one NFL QB to catch a pass from, who would it be?
JV: Tom Brady, of course. We’re talking about quarterbacks currently playing right? If so, I have to go with Brady, the G.O.A.T.
The Spun: Who was the toughest defender you faced in the ACC?
JV: I’d definitely say Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson. He was so sound and disciplined.I also thought Shayne Simon from Notre Dame was really good.
The Spun: What’s your best attribute?
JV: My football IQ, knowing how to get from point A to point B and use the field to my advantage. I come into every game comfortable and know where I want to go with the football. I also think my awareness and explosiveness are strong attributes, but I’d narrow it down to being decisive and knowing what I want to do with the football once it’s in my hands.
Hawkins had a monster 2019 season, rushing for 1,525 yards and nine touchdowns. Despite only appearing in eight games this fall, the shifty running back still managed to have 822 rushing yards, 149 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Hawkins is a top-six running back for next year's draft. That means we'll most likely see him come off the board in one of the first three rounds. Who knows, maybe Hawkins will get the opportunity to catch passes from Brady in the near future.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.