RECRUITING: Hometown linebacker Will Hawthorne recaps visit

Will Hawthorne, a 2025 linebacker out of Gilbert High School, grew up seven minutes from Jack Trice Stadium in North Ames.

Over the weekend, he was on campus to take an official visit as he’s emerged as a top target for Iowa State in building its 2025 class.

“I’ve grown up going to the games,” Hawthorne said. “I know the ins and outs of everything, I’ve been at the facility lots of times throughout my high school days. (Iowa State’s) got a great thing going. The Stark Performance Center is amazing. The facilities are great – they’re right next to each other… I was looking at the paper the other day and it seems like (CyTown) is going to look pretty cool in the next two or three years if they finish on schedule like they say they will.”

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker is rated as the No. 6 player out of Iowa in his class.

Iowa State has already landed four of the top nine players in the state, but the class does not yet contain a linebacker.

“I was the only linebacker prospect (at the official visit), so I got to have a lot of 1-on-1 time with Coach (Colby) Kratch,” Hawthorne said. “We talked about just about anything you can imagine, he’s a good guy. I was one of the last recruits to leave, so we had a lot of time to talk to coach (Matt) Campbell – my parents and I – and that was a great conversation.”

The Gilbert player collected 63 tackles, 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles during his junior year of high school.

Hawthorne’s extensive offer list includes Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas, Air Force, Army, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Ohio along with a number of Ivy League schools as well as another handful of FCS programs.

Although, Hawthorne used his first official visit with Iowa State and is taking another one with Nebraska in the upcoming weekend.

He came away from the visit impressed with how genuine the coaching staff was.

“He’s a great guy – he asked me what I had seen and liked about the official visit and I talked about how genuine all of the coaches were, which was great,” Hawthorne said. “I also talked about how when we went out with the players, they talked about how extremely genuine the coaches were – they weren’t just putting on a show for the recruits and their families.”

Hawthorne showed out during his stop at Iowa State’s prospect camp last week, with his style of play and how he remained loose in between reps.

“I think learned a lot about (playing loose) from baseball,” Hawthorne said. “I’ve been playing baseball since I was six and I quit last year since it got in the way of football season, but in baseball you learn – if you strikeout, there’s always a next play for you. You can’t sit there and dwell on what’s going to happen, because there’s another opportunity and you have to go grasp that. And also at the end of the day, it’s a sport. If you’re not having fun, then why do you do it.”

Hawthorne doesn’t have a top ‘x’ amount of schools for his recruitment, but did say Iowa State was near the top.

“They’re up there,” Hawthorne said.