Seven days after he suffered a concussion, Southern University wide receiver Charles Hawkins was back in uniform, in full gear, ready to play again when his teammates faced Florida A&M in the Georgia Dome.
But his coach didn’t let him.
This week, he’s back.
Hawkins, who watched his teammates suffer an agonizing 38-33 loss, will return to the huddle when the Jaguars (1-3, 1-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) face Mississippi Valley State (0-4, 0-3) in Itta Bena, Miss., at 2 p.m. Saturday.
For the junior receiver, Saturday can’t come quickly enough.
“That (FAMU) game was going by so slow, because I’m used to being out there with my teammates and playing,” Hawkins said. “You know you can go in there and help win the game. I tried to encourage them, tell them what I saw from the sideline.”
Hawkins has been on the sideline since Sept. 17, when he absorbed a ferocious hit from Jackson State safety Richard Hughes in the first quarter of a 28-24 loss.
Second-year coach Stump Mitchell described it as a mild concussion - and although doctors cleared Hawkins to play against Florida A&M last week, Mitchell didn’t.
“Hawkins is a great individual. I don’t want his career to end because he got a couple (of consecutive) concussions,” Mitchell said. “That’s not going to be the case. But I’m not concerned this week about him, because they cleared him last week. So he’ll be playing.”
When Hawkins left the lineup, Hawkins was the team’s second-leading receiver. He has nine catches for 187 yards and a touchdown.
Teammates have praised the 5-foot-10, 164-pound wideout for his leadership and knowledge of the playbook - not to mention a high tolerance for pain. In the season opener at Tennessee State, Hawkins suffered two rough-but-clean knockdowns on pass routes over the middle of the field.
His return should boost a position that’s often regarded as the deepest and most talented on the roster - but somewhat disappointing of late.
Officially, Southern receivers have dropped six passes over the past two weeks, though Mitchell said he counted 10.
QB Douglas to play
Repeating what he’s said several times this season, Mitchell said that although sophomore Dray Joseph is his starting quarterback, he’ll continue to give freshman quarterback J.P. Douglas a few series each game.
Joseph was 14-of-22 with 222 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against FAMU. He was spelled in the second and third quarters by Douglas, a freshman from Roswell, Ga., who was 3-of-10 for 20 yards, leading the team on one scoring drive just before halftime.
Douglas has played in three of four games this season, missing only the Jackson State game, a 28-24 loss on Sept. 17.
“I didn’t think J.P. was able, in my opinion, to handle playing in the Jackson State game. I just didn’t see it in his eyes,” Mitchell said. “Against FAMU with the game being in Atlanta, he was a different kid. Under center, he felt great.”
Joseph has completed 53 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. His streak of 101 consecutive passes without an interception was snapped in the second quarter against FAMU.
Douglas has completed 41 percent of his throws with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Mitchell said junior left tackle Chris Browne, who suffered an apparent left ankle injury during last week’s game, will probably play Saturday at Valley.
On the other hand, freshman left guard Zach Brown, who also injured his left ankle during the second half, will sit out, “probably for a week or two.”
Browne had been bothered by a sprained ankle before last week’s game. Brown, making his first college start, suffered his injury in the second half. He was seen on crutches afterward. Both players watched Tuesday’s practice, wearing jerseys and shorts. So, too, did defensive lineman Delwin Williams, who bruised his ribs against FAMU.
SWAC honors PR Williams
Byron Williams was named SWAC specialist of the week Tuesday after his 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in last week’s game.
It was the third punt return for a touchdown in the Mitchell era. Corey Cushingberry and Richard Wilson each returned punts for touchdowns last season.
It was the second special-teams touchdown of Williams’ career. In 2009, he returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score against Alcorn State.
“There’s no question that Byron is a talented young man,” Mitchell said. “He has not learned the offense as of yet, and it’s not that difficult, but I know he sees himself as a kickoff returner and a punt returner, and he did a fabulous job of doing that.”
Funeral services set
Funeral services for Roderick Mosley, an SU graduate and former SU assistant sports information director, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Elm Grove Baptist Church, 1609 38th St., in Baton Rouge.
Mosley, 38, died of a heart attack last week. He was in his second stint as assistant sports information director at Grambling.
“We ask that the Baton Rouge community and the Jaguar Nation keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” said Southern SID Christopher Jones, himself a friend and former colleague of Mosley.