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  Javian Hawkins leaves Louisville with records within reach and plenty of life in his legs. Which, come to think of it, is a good reason to go. U of L's prolific running back has picked a relatively sweet spot to opt out of his remaining eligibility to prepare for the NFL Draft. He has established his credentials as a breakaway threat without incurring any status-threatening injuries, showing the scouts what they need to see while avoiding risks that could prove ruinous to his professional prospects. Much as his decision will disappoint Cardinals fans and could compromise U of L's chances in its three remaining games, Hawkins probably ought to cash in while he can. Because of the bumps ballcarriers accumulate (and the diminished speed that often results), the career of the average NFL running back lasts about 2 ½ seasons. Unlike players at some other positions, and much like new cars, they are viewed as depreciating, fungible assets.

"Everybody always talks about the shelf life of running backs; how many hits can they take?" U of L coach Scott Satterfield said Monday. "Maybe that goes through running backs' minds, the fact that you only have so many hits...I think that's probably part of the decision for (Hawkins)." Though Clemson's Travis Etienne is the only running back commonly projected as a first-round selection in 2021, no fewer than seven lower-rated backs have chosen to opt out this fall. Some of them may choose to return to campus for the 2021 season. Some of them won't get a sniff from the NFL. All of them are conscious, though, of the accumulated pounding their position entails and, presumably, mindful of the value of self-preservation. Hawkins is one who deserves a closer look. Small by NFL standards - U of L lists him at 5-foot-9, 196 pounds - he projects as a change-of-pace back with elite elusiveness at the next level. Despite missing Saturday's game at Virginia, Hawkins' 822 rushing yards rank seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a healthy 6.2 yards per carry average. - Courier Journal


(DS#7 RB) rSo/2021 RB *Javian HawkinsLouisville
News Source: Courier Journal


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