ORANGE, NJ – One of the nation’s top-ranked cornerbacks, Orange High School senior Nyquee Hawkins signed with Virginia Tech to continue his football career on athletic scholarship.
In front of family members, friends, coaches and administrators, Hawkins made it official during a ceremony in the OHS cafeteria on Wednesday morning, Dec. 19, on National Signing Day.
One of his coaches is his father, Carlos Hawkins, the longtime assistant coach for the Tornadoes.
Nyquee Hawkins will enroll at Virginia Tech next month and plans to possibly major in business.
“I can’t wait to start in January and be a part of the Virginia Tech family,” said Hawkins to EssexNewsDaily.com/The Record-Transcript.
So what does Hawkins like about Virginia Tech?
“Everything,” he said. “The family atmosphere, the coaches, the whole school.”
Hawkins’ goals at Virginia Tech are to “learn the system, get my grades right with a 3.0 and get into the rotation; to prove myself and outwork everybody.”
A 6-foot, 180-pound 4-star prospect, Hawkins is ranked the No. 37 cornerback in the nation and the No. 9 overall player in the New Jersey in the Class of 2019, according to rivals.com.
Hawkins’ senior season unfortunately was cut short after he suffered a knee injury in the 40-0 road win against Ferris of Jersey City in Orange’s third game of the season on Sept. 15. But he was always with the team the rest of the season, providing support to his teammates.
Indeed, Hawkins will always cherish his time at Orange.
“It was a perfect time at Orange,” he said, noting he always help to set an example to the younger players, as well as helping to put Orange on the proverbial map. “It was a blessing to play with my friends, playing for my father, and (head) coach ‘D’ (Randy Daniel). Everything was a blessing.”
Daniel has coached several players who have gone to play at major Division 1 schools, most notably defensive tackle Jay Alford, who played at Penn State and later for the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants, and running back Cory Boyd, who played at South Carolina, was drafted by Buccaneers and played for the Broncos, and later played in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos.
To Daniel, coaching Nyquee Hawkins was a pleasure.
“He’s the hardest-working kid that has ever come through Orange,” said Daniel of Nyquee Hawkins. “He’s been working since the seventh-grade here; early evening workouts, late-evening workouts. His father put in a lot of time; he did a lot of training and took him around the country. I give a lot of credit to him and his father.
What makes Hawkins such a great player?
“His heart,” said Daniel. “His desire. He’s got the talent and the heart, on and off the field. We had no problems with him off the field with grades. I will say this: You can argue with who was the best to ever play at Orange. But when you talk about all-around, he is the best. I’m talking about off the field, academics, hard work, on the field. You’re not going to find anyone better than him.”
The Tornadoes this season finished 6-4, just missed qualifying for the state playoffs. Daniel surmised that his team needed one more touchdown in the win against Belleville to make the playoffs, under the new state playoff formula.
The Virginia Tech Hokies (6-7) lost to Cincinnati (10-2), 35-31, in the Military Bowl on New Year’s Eve at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C.