Indiana Daily Student

UAB transfer excited to fill role in IU's receiving corps

Marqui Hawkins’ football journey has taken him to three colleges representing three different conferences in three states — and he hasn’t even taken a snap yet.

The sophomore receiver with three years of eligibility remaining suspects Bloomington is the last stop on his personal odyssey. Hawkins has already been with Florida and, most recently, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but now he calls himself a Hoosier after transferring Dec. 10, 2014.

“I love it here,” Hawkins said, smiling as he met with the media for the first time Jan. 10.

At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, the Columbus, Ga., native knows he joins an IU offense in need of an outside target. He’s confident he fits the bill of a Cody Latimer or Kofi Hughes-type receiver, and IU Coach Kevin Wilson agrees.

Hawkins likes being lined up on the outside because of his physical mold. He describes himself as a physical receiver with a knack for being able to gather in jump balls. He’s got a bit of speed, too, but he still feels he can get faster.

When he visited IU last month, Hawkins was quickly sold on the program when he realized he and the Hoosiers were a potential match.

He liked the idea of junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld throwing the ball, playing in the up-tempo offense, and the possibility of immediately plugging into the Hoosiers’ lineup as the outside threat IU lacked last year.

“That’s a great role for me,” Hawkins said. “With Indiana losing the big physical guys that they had going to the league, they can give me a chance to come in ... I can see myself playing here early. I’ve just gotta work.”

A former 3-star recruit, Hawkins has been through nearly constant change in his two-year college career without ever actually lining up on the field in a game.

Hawkins originally committed to Florida where he redshirted his freshman season. During spring camp in 2014, Hawkins decided to transfer to UAB while coaches at Florida were trying to convert him to safety.

At UAB, Hawkins was forced to sit out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He spent the year on the scout team, taking snaps in practice to prepare the active players for the upcoming games.

But don’t think Hawkins was just going through the motions at practice while he sat out his mandatory ?season.

“When I was on scout team, I used to treat it like a game day,” Hawkins said. “It won’t change for me. I’ve just gotta do what I was doing on scout team.”

Wilson admitted that IU hasn’t recruited receivers that are taller and more physical. The Hoosiers picked up a number of shorter, quicker receivers, but not many built like Hawkins.

That’s what inevitably led to 5-foot-7 Shane Wynn lining up on the outside last season while being defended by cornerbacks who stood six inches taller.

So when UAB’s program folded, Hawkins immediately caught Wilson’s attention. He was exactly the type of receiver he hadn’t gotten in recruiting already, and he had two years of college experience already under his belt.

“Him being older, him having size was very attractive, and we liked what we saw in his high school tape,” Wilson said.

Hawkins has seen a bit of everything in his time on scout team, where he mimicked opposing teams’ offenses while learning his own.

Between his time at Florida and UAB, Hawkins spent some time in pro-style offenses, up-tempo spreads and just about everything in between.

But now Bloomington and IU’s up-tempo spread offense is home for Hawkins. He said he’s excited to be playing at the pace IU played at two years ago when the team ranked No. 120 out of 123 teams in time of possession while averaging 38 points and 509 yards per game.

Those numbers will make a receiver’s eyes light up. It’s what sold Hawkins on IU and ultimately why he left the 70-degree weather in Alabama for the sub-zero winter temperatures in ?Bloomington.

“Fast tempo, getting lined up to the ball ... Just the receivers,” Hawkins said. “I like the way that they play.

“That’s why I came here.”

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