Brady Hawkins has always had plenty of options during his athletic career.
Hawkins has been a four-sport standout and Division I offers have been rolling in since his sophomore year, with schools asking his services in football or baseball.
But the Ethan High School senior-to-be finally had to choose between the two sports, and in the end, he opted for baseball. Hawkins also decided to reward the school that showed interest first with his commitment to South Dakota State University on Thursday.
“They always talk about that ‘home’ feeling and that’s what came off most to me,” Hawkins said. “It felt like a place that was home and it was close to home. It was just the right fit for me.”
The window to commit with South Dakota State was closing, and in order to secure scholarship money, Hawkins opted for Brookings.
The Jackrabbits, who do not offer full baseball scholarships, offered to provide Hawkins the most comprehensive scholarship package available. He will get a 40 percent scholarship as a freshman and it will increase over his four years.
Choosing his next destination was not the most difficult decision during the process, however. Hawkins had to decide which sport to give up and which sport to continue. The Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan quarterback and middle linebacker had football offers from SDSU, North Dakota State and was also getting a late push from Iowa State.
He was also had baseball offers from Division I schools such as SDSU, NDSU and Xavier, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the end, he decided he had more of a future in baseball. He is projected to head to Brookings as a pitcher and will also play a position in the field.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life -- picking between the two,” Hawkins said. “I’ve gotten to play all sports and I’ve loved all the sports, but I felt like my future in baseball was pretty bright. It felt like that was just the right fit for me, playing that sport.”
Hawkins -- who has also participated in basketball and track at Ethan -- has racked up 1,943 passing yards and 1,026 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns during his football career thus far.
While playing for Mitchell Post 18 on the diamond this summer, Hawkins hit .420 and edged future SDSU teammate Carson Max for the team-lead with 53 RBIs. He was also 6-0 on the mound, with a 1.38 earned run average and 64 strikeouts in nine appearances.
He had briefly considered attempting to play both sports at the collegiate level and Division II Augustana had expressed interest in allowing him to do both, but Hawkins wanted to play a Division I sport.
“When you get up to that Division I level, both sports -- you’re playing year-round,” Hawkins said. “It’s tough to play both. (SDSU) mentioned playing both, but it was a one-or-the-other-type thing.”
After months of fielding questions from friends, family members and fans about his college choice, Hawkins can now enter his final year of high school with the decision behind him.
“It’s a big-time weight off my shoulders,” Hawkins said. “For the past year, if you go up to anyone, they’re asking you, ‘What are you thinking? What do you want to do?’ For the longest time, I said, ‘I’m not sure, I wish I knew.’ Being done with it all is a big weight off my shoulders.”