Jair Hawkins-Anderson has plenty of adjustments to make as he begins his time at Georgia Tech, starting with his name.
“This year in football (at Northview High), it was just ‘Anderson’ (on the back of the jersey),” he said. “They couldn’t fit ‘Hawkins-Anderson.’”
He is hopeful for both of his parents’ names – his mother Pat Hawkins and his mother Willie Anderson – on the back of his Tech jersey this fall.
“I would think so,” he said. “In college, you always see guys with long last names. It’s been weird. Like, You have two last names? No, it’s just one. It’s hyphenated.”
For the other changes, Hawkins-Anderson has a plan.
“I’m going to latch onto a senior, see how they react and get through their days,” he said. “Sooner or later, that’s second nature.”
It is a smart ploy, one that might be expected of the son of a four-time NFL all-pro offensive tackle. Willie Anderson played 13 years in the NFL, 12 with Cincinnati, and now lives in Buckhead.
“Me and my dad talk about it a lot,” Hawkins-Anderson said. “He just tries to cram as much stuff as he can.”
Hawkins-Anderson is one of three wide receivers in the incoming freshman class. He will be among the fastest players on the roster. Quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook, who recruited Hawkins-Anderson said that he has “legit 4.4” speed. Hawkins-Anderson said the fastest 40-yard dash he has run was a 4.37 at a camp at Auburn. Tennessee and Georgia were among schools that also made scholarship offers.
Hawkins-Anderson has an NFL lineage, but he does not come to Tech with an attitude of entitlement.
“Some people think that, just because my dad played in the league, that I’m a spoiled kid and I got everything handed to me,” he said. “I feel like they’re not expecting me to have a real dedicated work ethic, so I feel like when I do that, it surprises people.”
He arrives knowing he has work to do. In particular, he’s aware of the importance that coaches place on blocking and also expects the game to speed up.
“I know it’s going to speed up probably like 1,000 miles an hour,” he said. “Just stay calm and focus. If everyone else can do it, I’m sure it’s not impossible to do.”
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