Javian Hawkins named Freshman All-American for Louisville football

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Javian Hawkins’ production in 2019 might have surprised some, but the redshirt freshman believed he could be one of the nation’s best ball carriers. Hawkins was named first-team Freshman All-American by The Athletic Dec. 12 after rushing for 1,420 yards for Louisville football this season.

Hawkins ranks seventh in the country with rushing yards and is first among freshmen ball carriers nationally. The 5-foot-9 running back averaged 118.3 yards per game and surpassed 100 yards in seven games. He didn’t find out about being included on the All-American team until after practice Thursday.

“It shows that hard work does pay off,” Hawkins said. “There have always been goals to have fun and be great.”

Sophomore Hassan Hall was Louisville’s top returning rusher from a year ago, but was slowed by an injury in fall camp. Enter Hawkins.

Hawkins rushed for 122 yards in the season opener against Notre Dame, instantly becoming Louisville’s featured back. He rushed for 123 yards the following week against Eastern Kentucky.

He rushed for 172 yards against Boston College in October and saved his best performance for the final home game of the regular season, churning out 233 yards against Syracuse.

Whether Hall or himself had the ball in their hands, Hawkins had confidence plays would be made.

“I’m just hungry,” Hawkins said. “I have faith in them and they have faith in me. I honestly thought we would both get 1,000 yards. I hope in the future we definitely make it happen.”

Running Backs coach Norval McKenzie has stayed on Hawkins and Hall throughout the season. Hawkins credited McKenzie for helping him develop into a complete running back.

“He [McKenzie] is smart,” Hawkins said. “He knows the game well and he explains it to us. He isn’t going to let us waste our potential.”

Hawkins led a Louisville rushing attack that averaged 214.4 yards per game.

Quarterback Micale Cunningham tells Hawkins and Hall to not let one defender bring them down. He said the running backs have lived up to that expectation this season.

“Hawkins is a very humble kid,” Cunningham said. “When I first met him, very humble, hungry.”

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