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The Cardinal Countdown: 10 Days Until Kickoff

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Music City Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#10 Javian Hawkins

Class: RS Sophomore

Ht/Wt: 5-9/196

Position: Running Back

Hometown: Titusville, FL

Twitter: @JavianHawkins

Thoughts: What could I possibly say here that hasn’t already been said about the season Hawkins put together last year? The young man carried the ball like he had something to prove, like he wanted to show that he belonged on the big stage with the other big names in college football. While I saw an amazing season from one of the best backs in the country, I also saw a great story about perseverance and focus.

Let’s hop in the way back machine and set the dial to 2018. Hawkins, a true freshman, comes in ready to light the world on fire. Lets roll his 2018 highlight reel…

That’s it. One rushing attempt for seven yards and one catch for four yards. Total. They slapped a redshirt on him and he never saw the field again. How easy it would have been to hang his head, feel underappreciated, feel like he wasn’t given a shot. But instead he kept working, kept grinding, and earned himself a starting job in 2019 and made the most of it. His 2019 highlight reel is a tad different…

They flashed some stats but just in case you missed some here is the list I compiled last year:

- His 117.31 rushing yards per game ranked #2 in the ACC and #7 nationally.

- His 9 rushing TDs ranked #6 in the ACC.

- His 5.78 yards per attempt ranked #5 in the ACC.

- His 264 attempts in 2019 rank #3 all-time at UofL.

- His 233 yards against Syracuse rank #7 all-time for single game rushing performance at UofL.

- His 1,525 rushing yards in 2019 rank #3 all-time for single season performance at UofL and #1 all-time for single season performance by a running back.

- His eight games of 100 yards rushing or more in 2019 puts him in a tie for 2nd all-time at UofL and #1 all-time for a running back.

- His 3 consecutive games of 100 yards rushing or more places him in a tie for 9th all-time at UofL but is still on-going at this time.

- His 10.13 yards per attempt (min 20 att) against Syracuse puts him at #4 all-time for single game average.

- His 5.78 yards per attempt (min 200 att) in 2019 puts him at #5 all-time for season long average.

All signs point to this likely being the last season Hawkins suits up for the Cards as he will be three years removed from high school, and if he plays anywhere close to how he did in 2020 he really has nothing left to prove and can keep the extra miles of his legs by forgoing his senior season. If that’s the case, soak it in. Whether they play one game or twelve, enjoy watching the tone setter for the Satterfield offense. The young man who laid the groundwork for Satterfield to showcase that he can put up some points, and we can look good doing it. Tip of the cap to Hawkins for staying focused and pushing himself to go from one carry, to being one of the best in the country.

Sweet Tweet:

Samsies.

***

#10 Rodjay Burns

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-0/215

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Product of Trinity High School)

Twitter: @Roddyb_10

Thoughts: The story on Burns is a pretty incredible. A local product who decided to “take his talents to South Beach Columbus” to go play for Ohio State, who as a true freshman appeared in seven games for the Buckeyes as a defensive back and even had a pick six to his name. He was excelling there, but due to unfortunate family circumstances felt it was best to move back home and continue his playing career at Louisville. After sitting out a transfer season Rodjay came in and not only played well at corner but also on special teams, taking his first punt return to the house against ISU, the same game Hawkins saw limited action in above. While 2018 wasn’t a bright spot for the program Burns played well, finishing the year with 38 tackles, a couple tackles in the backfield, and a pick that went for 34 yards, not to mention his 15.15yd/ret average on punts, good enough for 2nd all-time at UofL.

Then 2019 rolls around and the new staff sees Burns as a great option for the ‘Card’ position, a hybrid outside linebacker that needs to be a jack of all trades. Burns once again excels, starting all 13 games and finishing the season with 83 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 3 QB hurries, 2 sacks, 2 pass break ups, an interception, a fumble return, and a forced fumble….oh, and he still returned punts. An absolute monster year.

While expectations of repeating 2019 are a bit unrealistic Burns will be expected to be a defensive leader, and once again help set the tone for a defense looking to get back in the conversation as one of the best in the league. This will likely be Burns final season at UofL as well (assuming he doesn’t take advantage of extra season of eligibility), and it’s been fun to watch his growth and transition over his career.

There is a high probability that both #10s will be gone after 2020, and in my opinion, both have left a big mark on the program that will be tough to fill.

Sweet Tweet:

This may be cheating Rodjay out of his tweet a bit but I had an opportunity to pull in a reference to another one of my all-time favorites to do it at UofL….so I took it.