Rancho Cucamonga's loaded secondary
Once Chris Hawkins transferred to Rancho Cucamonga before the start of his junior season, he didn’t exactly garner the attention of safety Tahaan Goodman initially.
Hawkins had to show his worth.
“He started making a bunch of plays,” Goodman said. “I like that.”
Hawkins wasn’t alone in that. Goodman was making his fair share of plays as well as the members of a defense that led the Cougars to their fourth consecutive CIF semifinals appearance. Hawkins was named All-CIF in the process.
Despite being solid in the Rancho Cucamonga secondary, they still needed some convincing to just how good they were. It wasn’t until a playoff game last season that they realized it. They were approached by a Pac-12 assistant coach, who told them he would offer them both a scholarship in the future. They were stunned.
“We didn’t think we were going to get anything,” Hawkins said. “We were hoping for like a South Dakota or North Dakota and stuff like that.
“We didn’t know we had (talent) like that.”
Sooner rather than later, the offers started pouring in.
“On Signing Day we got multiple offers each and it just skyrocketed from there so we just been blessed the whole time,” Hawkins said.
Goodman has 25 offers from all across the country. Hawkins has his share of offers too but has announced his pledge to USC.
Together, the seniors make up, arguably, the top cornerback/safety combo in the nation. Hawkins is the 7th ranked cornerback in the nation and Goodman is the 5th ranked safety, according to Scout, allowing 7th year head coach Nick Baiz to be aggressive with the defensive playcalling.
“We can play a lot of man-to-man which allows you to blitz a little more,” Baiz said. “We can blitz Tahaan. His ability to blitz is fantastic and Chris’ ability to go after the ball really helps us out too.”
The competition between the two is “very high.” They compete in everything from on-field drills, to grades in the classroom and video games.
It’s a bond they’ve developed while going through the recruiting process. In the offseason heading into their senior campaigns, the two became closer while competing on the same 7-on-7 travel team and also being able to discuss their respective recruiting processes.
While Hawkins knew USC was the place for him, Goodman has been a bit more deliberate in his decision making.
“Based on when I go there and check it out,” said Goodman of what will factor into his final decision. “See what the environment is and how the coaches treat the players and how the players act towards winning and losing.”
Will that place be USC like Hawkins? The Trojan commit is making his best pitch.
“Every day,” Goodman said.
“(Chris says) ‘SC is the place to be, that I need to go there and come to the games and recruit for them.’ They got an extra coach that’s recruiting – Chris and his dad.”
Only time will tell if Hawkins’ pitch is working. In the meantime, the Cougars (3-1) will have their final non-league tune-up against JW North, a game that can be seen on FOX Sports West Friday night at 10:30 p.m.