It’s not surprising that Hawkinson signed with the Jayhawks out of high school, as he grew up a Kansas fan due to the matriculation of his grandfather (season-ticket holder for years), mother, two brothers and a sister to Lawrence. His father, Griff, actually went to rival Kansas State, and Manhattan was an hour closer to his home town of McPherson, but Tanner knew he’d one day wear crimson and royal blue. Ricky Bobby, as his teammates call him for his resemblance to the Will Ferrell character in the racing comedy "Talladega Nights", started every game since arriving on campus, impressing scouts more each season as his athletic frame filled out into one fitting a potential late round selection.
Hawkinson expected to play tight end at Kansas, where he earned conference MVP honors as a senior in high school, but during his redshirt season he moved first to defensive end (he was an all-state pick at that position in 2007) and then to his final home at offensive tackle. He started all 12 games at left tackle in 2009, garnering first-team Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America. Hawkinson lined up with the ones for every game in 2010 at left tackle, then switched to the right side in 2011. Hawkinson finished up his senior year with an All-Big 12 second-team selection, and the University of Kansas record for games started, and consecutive games started.
Frame has filled out during his career, should continue to do so early in his NFL career. Still possesses foot quickness to lead off-tackle runs, be effective on zone blocks, and reach/negate second-level targets. Lateral movement in pass protection is adequate to cut off the corner, has the length to push rushers around the pocket. Picks up twists adeptly. Quick getting down on back-side cut blocks.
Lacks adequete strength. Can be bullied into the quarterback by powerful linemen and lacks the upper body to hold off defenders once they get the advantage inside. Stops his feet in pass pro at times, causing him to bend at the waist. Also overextends when attacking linebackers off the snap and quicker defenders in space. Doesn't play with balance.
Family tradition led Hawkinson to Lawrence, as several of his immediate family members are Kansas alums (except his father, who went to rival KSU). He’s been a fixture on the Kansas line, as shown by 48 consecutive starts. He's showed off his athleticism while adding weight every season, but he'll need to prove he can play with better strength and balance in order to be selected late in the draft.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.