FREE STORY: Hawthornes mom knows best

The focus in recruiting is almost always on the prospect and the schools recruiting him. But there are so many others that play a big part in the process that are hardly ever touched on including a recruit's family.
A perfect example is Tim Hawthorne's family who has been with him from the very start. They've been by his side or on the sidelines for his games, summer camps and all the unofficial and official visits.
It all culminated in Monday night's announcement when Tim picked the Tigers.
"I'm very proud of him," said his mother, Donna Hawthorne. "I'm just so overwhelmed. It's still really unreal to me that we've been through this process and that we've been so sought after. I feel very blessed."
While the recruiting process can seem glamorous to the outsider, there's much more involved with weekends devoted to visits and the incessant phone calls from coaches and reporters.
"I describe it as being a wonderful frustration to have," said Hawthorne. "There are times when things are inconvenient on school nights but we managed to work things in. Overall, it was a very fun thing to go through."
The recruiting process was fun but also pressure packed for Hawthorne's family, especially in the days leading up to his decision.
"I'm glad it has come to an end because you can only pick one," said Hawthorne. "You really hate to have so many people hanging because you can only go to one school."
Nobody knows Tim better than his mother. And she is able to provide insight into his makeup that's often not available in a standard recruiting article.
"Tim has always been a complex child," she said. "He's always been very serious and very competitive. He's always been good at whatever he did. I'm very thankful for the gift that everybody sees in him. I know without a doubt with his competitiveness, he will drive it to the end."
Hawthorne gives a lot of credit to the Auburn coaching staff for gaining the trust of her son and the entire family.
"I feel very comfortable with them," she said. "The meetings we had together were very down-to-earth, very honest, very serious. They understood where we were coming from as parents and how serious we were taking the whole process. They just had the edge because they were such comfortable people to be with."
She was particularly impressed with Auburn assistants Terry Price, who recruits the Birmingham area and wide receiver coach Greg Knox. Both formed a close relationship with Tim and her son is looking forward to working with Knox.
"I think the main thing was the knowledge and energy of their wide receiver coach. That was a big factor (in his decision)," she said. "Coach Knox is a very knowledgeable person and his techniques were one of the determining factors.
"I also think Tim felt very comfortable there," she added. "I think the interaction with the players on his visits, we had several including an official; he was made to feel a part of the group."
With recruiting over and Signing Day just two days away, Mrs. Hawthorne is looking forward to a less stressful spring and of course spending fall Saturdays at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
"We follow all of our children wherever they go and whatever endeavor they take on so we will be Auburn Tigers to the fullest," she said.
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