He grew up on and around military bases, first in Georgia and now in Maryland, while his dad served in the Army. His grandfather and great grandfather both served in the armed forces as well. Hawk’s high school shares a name with the Army base, Fort Meade, where it’s located, and on weekends, the rising senior bags groceries at the base commissary.
It made sense then to Hawk that his academic and athletic career should continue hand-in-hand with the military. Hawk verbally committed to the Naval Academy late last month following a one-day camp hosted by the Academy on June 22. The Mustangs offensive lineman needed less than a week to make up his mind, officially committing to become a Midshipman the following Thursday. Hawk also held an offer from Campbell.
“I’m from a military family and that’s what really made me make my decision,” Hawk said. “I like the military. I like what everything’s about. I like the Academy and I want to be a part of it.”
From a football perspective, Hawk said he was attracted to the Navy’s long-tenured coaching staff and coach Ken Niumatalolo’s run-heavy offense, which the senior said dovetails well with his own skill set.
“I’m a power guy. I like run blocking,” he said. “Pass blocking is good and everything, but moving people out of the way is a lot more fun.”
Before heading to Annapolis next summer, Hawk will spend this summer preparing to help Meade defend the Maryland 4A East region title it won last season. The Mustangs, who finished the season ranked No. 19 in the Post’s rankings, were slow starters a year ago and needed a five-game winning streak at the end of the regular season just to make the playoffs. The postseason berth was Meade’s first since 2001.
As the region’s fourth seed, the Mustangs earned road upsets over traditional Anne Arundel County powers Arundel and Old Mill to win the 4A East before losing in the state semifinals to eventual 4A state champion Wise. It is at least partially thanks to the Mustangs’ success last season that Hawk was able to snag the attention of the Navy coaching staff.
“It was Mr. [Chet] Gladchuk, the Athletic Director at the Naval Academy, who when I was speaking with him, he said ‘I look for people who are winners.’” Meade coach Rich Holzer. “Especially at a school like that, where they need to take a certain kind of kid, they’re looking for winners most of the time, and when you get a kid with a winning team and a winning mentality…that’s going to translate into him getting more opportunities.”
While he’s far from the first member of his family to serve in the military, Hawk will be the first to attend one of the service academies for school. He’ll also be tasked with swinging his family’s football allegiances from Army, the branch in which his father served, to Navy.
“I’ve always cheered for Army, so it is kind of weird,” Hawk said when asked if his commitment would spark a family feud between father and son. “I think he’ll side with me on this one.”
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