Chris Hawkins to Face Not Just Idaho, But Brother Armond


When Chris Hawkins and his brother Armond Hawkins Jr. take the field on Saturday, it will be the first time that the two brothers have ever faced one another in their lives. One will play for USC and the other for Idaho.

RELATED: 5 Great Father & Son Legacies in USC Football History

It’s not entirely uncommon for brothers to play together, but former Rancho Cucamonga High teammates Chris and Armond have goals beyond just football. For these two brothers, the game is just one chapter of a book the Hawkins family is writing on success.

For their father Armond Sr., the relationship serves as an extension of his love for his children. The brothers embrace each other’s success and failures.

Chris might be graduating from a more prestigious school and potentially have a future in the NFL, but a rising tide floats all boats and Chris plans to raise the tide when he graduates.

“Armond graduates from Idaho like just Chris, early,” Hawkins Sr. said. “The Idaho degree isn’t going to hold the weight that Chris’s degree, or possibly his master’s from USC is going to hold. So Chris and Armond are coming up with a plan. They both have an inheritance coming from their grandfather, who left them quite a bit of money. They want to open up and start their own business.”

Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans cornerback Chris Hawkins (4) reacts prior to the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While having a degree from Idaho doesn’t make Armond Jr. any less of a success than his brother, the Hawkins family are realistic when it comes to life facts.

There is a reason why certain schools are looked at with prestige and it would be foolish to pretend that the connections one makes at a university like USC are likely to be more expansive and far-reaching than the connections made at Idaho.

With all of that said, Chris’s connections will be Armond Jr’s connections. “Chris will be able to use his USC connections to bring Armond in,” said Armond Sr.

“It’s all about the contacts you make during the course of your college [education],” he said. “Chris has established himself pretty well at USC. He’s in the Sigma Chi fraternity. He just did an internship with one of the [real estate] billionaires at USC.”

When it comes to boys turning into men, Armond Sr. understands that not every child is going to be able to come to their parents with everything — Sr. admits he’s hard on the boys and encourages learning lessons — but knowing that his two boys can call upon each other in a time of need is a genuine blessing.

To dad, this is the heart of their relationship. Whether it’s growing on the field, growing on the field, or just growing together, Hawkins Sr. can always count on the fact that his sons share a nurturing relationship.

“Armond will share with Chris his plays from practice,” Hawkins Sr. said. “They obviously do not share team drills or playbooks, but they constantly discuss one-on-one plays or drills. Both of them will talk about it together and they go back and forth, trying to help each other out. When they both come home, they both train together. They go out here and train on the field and they watch video and film together.

“I think I’ve done a great enough job. They’re only four months apart. They have two different moms. But I’ve raised both of them from Day 1 and they take care of each other. Simply, whatever Chris needs, he can call Armond. Whatever Armond needs, he can call him, without interaction from their dad or their moms.”

When Armond Sr. says that Jr. can call Chris with anything, he’s not messing around.

The changing landscape of NCAA rules means that some colleges can afford to provide more substantial stipend packages than others. The Hawkins brothers would be a shining example of the uneven playing field across collegiate athletics, yet the Hawkins brothers find a way to turn things like that into an opportunity to express their love for one another.

“Armond lives in Moscow, Idaho,” Hawkins Sr. said. “Idaho’s stipend check is maybe a third of what Chris’s is. So Armond gets broke. He pays his rent, pays his bills and he’s broke. He doesn’t call me, because I’m hard on him. He calls his brother. ‘Brother, I’m broke. I don’t have groceries, I don’t have this, blah blah blah.’ Chris goes, ‘OK’ and Chris wires him $500 until he gets his next check.”

“Our whole ancestors back to Africa, they’ll all be at the game. I think as we speak right now, we have 101 family members coming to the game.-Armond Hawkins, Sr.

And if you were under the impression that the tightness of the family’s relationship was restricted to the immediate family, think again. This Saturday, the Hawkins family will have enough people in attendance to field a complete 85 man college roster and still have enough left over for a practice squad. But even though they plan to share the occasion with the entire family, they certainly have plans to enjoy this moment together.

“Our whole ancestors back to Africa, they’ll all be at the game,” Hawkins Sr. said. “I think as we speak right now, we have 101 family members coming to the game. But as our own individual family, we’ll sit up and watch the game together. It’s great, because to put two kids into Division-I football is great as a dad. To put them in college alone, is great. But to be playing on this level, even though Idaho is not up to par, I think it’s a great situation for me and for their moms.””

Speaking of Idaho not being up to par. Well, remember earlier when we said that the Hawkins family lives in reality? That applies here, too.

Everyone understands what’s going to go down on Saturday. But even within the reality of the situation, the Hawkins family continue to find a way to make it about their relationship and their growth together.

“None of us think the game will be close,” Hawkins Sr. said. “None of us. So Armond had a running joke, ‘that as long as I pick off Cody [Kessler] and [Chris] picks off the other quarterback, we’ll have a great day and make a Hawkins highlight tape.’ We basically didn’t have to say it [won’t be close], because Armond knows. Idaho’s going to be without their No. 1 receiver and their No. 1 cornerback, who got caught stealing. They are really at a deficit now. Armond leads the punchlines right now, as far as the game is concerned. He cracks all of the jokes and we don’t have to say too much. All of us communicate on three-way, pretty much every night for the last two weeks.”

The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said “be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.”

Not only are the Hawkins brothers instructed, they are enriched by each other. They’re competitors on Saturday. They’re business partners tomorrow. They’re family forever.

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