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Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell measured by how they play

Running back and wide receiver key contributors to Louisville offense

Size doesn’t have to match production.

Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell were Louisville football’s two biggest playmakers despite being two of the smallest players on the field.

“I think it’s the way you play,” offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford said. “You could measure somebody’s size, but it’s hard to measure what somebody has inside.”

Hawkins, a 5-foot-9, 182-pound running back, rushed for 1,525 yards to earn Second-Team All-ACC honors in 2019. He rushed for 100 or more yards in eight games as a redshirt freshman, finishing seventh in the nation in rushing yards.

Comparatively, Hawkins has some size on Atwell.

The slot receiver was listed as 5-foot-9, 153 pounds as a sophomore, but his speed more than made up for his size. Atwell led the ACC with 1,276 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Ledford says Hawkins and Atwell are examples of players working hard every day.

Hawkins had plenty of success early last season, rushing for over 100 yards in Louisville’s first two games.

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Ledford said the running back makes up for his lack of size by the way he plays.

“When he ran the football, it’s as if he has a chip on his shoulder,” Ledford said. “He had a purpose when he was running the football.”

In Louisville’s third game of the season last year, Atwell had three touchdown catches and 141 receiving yards in the Cardinals’ victory over Western Kentucky in Nashville. It was the first of seven games that Atwell surpassed 100 receiving yards.

“He is probably one of the fastest people in college football,” Ledford said. “That’s something that you have it or you don’t.”

Hawkins and Atwell have both been named to preseason award watch lists.

The running back and receiver can once again be focal points of Louisville’s offense.

“For us as coaches we have to make sure we give them an opportunity to showcase that on the field on Saturdays,” Ledford said.

While size can be a limitation to some players, Ledford believes Hawkins and Atwell use it as a motivator.

“To me that’s one of the biggest motivators you can have, whenever there is doubt or someone saying something about you that you can’t be this or can’t be that, just proving people wrong about that,” Ledford said.