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Mark Hawkins is glad to be back in comfortable surroundings

Photo by Derrick Mahone / Drew coach Jarrett Laws said he’s looking forward to reuniting with the former Titans JV squad standout.

Photo by Derrick Mahone / Drew coach Jarrett Laws said he’s looking forward to reuniting with the former Titans JV squad standout.

RIVERDALE - After seeing Mark Hawkins earn junior varsity MVP honors, Drew varsity football coach Jarrett Laws had big future players for him.

But those plans never came to fruition after Hawkins family moved into the Mundy's Mill High district.

“I thought we would do some things that would highlight his talents,” Laws said.

Hawkins, a rising senior, started feeling “home sick at Mundy's Mill”, and finally convinced his parents to move back into Drew's district. And that was to the delight of Laws, who finally gets to coach the former MVP player.

“Anytime you can get a player that was your MVP back, that is big for your program,” Laws said.

And Hawkins is thrilled to play his final season with the players he started his high school career with four years ago.

“I really didn't feel at home over there,” Hawkins said before a recent summer workout at Drew. “My grades started to slip, and I wasn't as happy.”

As a junior wide receiver last season for the Tigers, Hawkins had only eight receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he recorded only two tackles.

Mundy's Mill finished with a 4-6 record, and lost to Northgate 15-3 in the Region 4-AAAAA play-in game.

On a personal note, Mundy's Mill defeated Drew 32-31 in the regular season. Hawkins wants to be on the winning end of that game again — this time for his new team.

“I'm looking forward to that game,” he said. “I keep in contact with some of the players. I know there is going to be some trash talking.”

During the last two seasons, Hawkins has overcome some adversity both on and off the field. His biggest concern was with his mother, Cleavette Hawkins, who was battling illness. The younger Hawkins had his own injuries to deal with as well.

He sustained a knee injury, a cut eye lid when his visor broke on his helmet and a neck injury.

“I had a lot of stress on me,” he said. “My mom knew I wasn't that happy, and asked me if I wanted to move back to Drew. I knew she was sick, and I didn't want to put them through much trouble. We just finally decided to make the move.”

With the graduation of several players, Hawkins might have made the move at the right time. He has a shot at earning a starting position for the Titans, who look to return to the playoffs after missing it last season.

“I know we are a young team, but we have enough experience to make it to the playoffs,” Hawkins said. “All the seniors have to step up and be a leader.”

Hawkins said he is earning his position, and doesn't expect it to be given to him because of his past history with the program.

“Coach Laws doesn't play favors,” he said. “Everyone is pushing me to my full potential. I have to earn my spot.”