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City: Lincoln, NE

Conference: Big 12



Baldwin's Corico Hawkins picks Clemson

1:46 p.m. Friday, August 22, 2008

Baldwin High School's Corico Hawkins said he will play football at Clemson University next year. Hawkins, a 6-foot, 228-pound linebacker, is rated high on the AJC's Georgia 150 list. He received offers from 28 schools, including Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Auburn, Nebraska and Iowa. "There was a marriage from the beginning, " Baldwin head coach Jesse Hicks said. "He went to the University of Florida numerous times and had a great rapport with Charlie Strong, but Clemson is where his heart was." Hicks said Clemson has been recruiting Hawkins for the last several months. "Some coaches are all business, but Coach [Tommy] Bowden treated him like family, " Hicks said. "It made Corico feel like Clemson was where needed to be. It was a good fit." Hicks said Hawkins has excellent football instincts and a strong work ethic, but he will have to continue to improve his game to compete in the ACC. "He's a student of the game, but he has to be able to play at that speed in order to take his game to the next level, " he said. "He can do it, though. He has all the intangibles." Hawkins, who runs a 4.53-second 40, recorded 101 tackles last year, had one interception and three sacks. He also runs track for the Braves. Hawkins' cousin, Leroy Hill, played football for Baldwin and Clemson. Hill was drafted by Seattle in 2005, and he helped lead the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL.

Tennessee edges Tech for Stephenson's Mitchell-Thornton

12:34 p.m. Friday, August 22, 2008

Tennesse narrowly defeated Georgia Tech in an intense recruiting battle for Stephenson linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder said he was influenced after a "4-0" vote in favor of Tennessee during a recent meeting with his parents and Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell. All four wrote down a list of five schools which would be the best for Mitchell-Thornton. "Tennessee was No. 1 on all four, and that was important to me, that those people closest to me felt the same way about the same school, " Mitchell-Thornton said. "However, they all told me to think more about it, and that the final decision had to be mine." Mitchell-Thornton finally felt the timing was right, calling Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer: "He thought I just calling to talk. When I committed, he said it was a great day for linebackers because they [Tennessee] had gotten another linebacker commitment just a few minutes earlier." D.T. Shackelford of Decatur, Ala., also committed to Tennessee. Mitchell-Thornton said Tech was the runner-up: "I really like the new coaches and think Georgia Tech's program is going in a great direction. But they are doing a lot of changes on both offense and defense. On defense, it seems like they will be using smaller linebackers who will be used more in coverage. Georgia Tech didn't tell me that, but that's just the way I saw it. I just felt like my style of play fit in better at Tennessee." Thornton-Mitchell's other offers included Stanford, Duke, Mississippi State, Wake Forest and Nebraska, among others.

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