CSU defenders Paogoife and Hawkins’ alliance stems from home

Eddie Herz

Even for the best collegiate athletes, transitioning from the high school to college level can be difficult.

In addition, adjusting to a new environment can be challenging when moving away from home for the first time.

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The sentiment definitely could have been the case for Colorado State sophomore defensive lineman Livingston Paogofie, who came all the way from Arlington, Texas to play for the Rams.

Paogofie didn’t know much about Colorado before CSU began recruiting him out of Bowie High School in Arlington. But, Paogofie was fortunate enough to have a piece of home engrained in Fort Collins when he was going through the recruiting process. That piece was high school teammate and current CSU cornerback Anthony Hawkins.

“We weren’t too close in high school but when the recruiting process started for me our relationship became closer,” Paogofie said.

Paogofie and Hawkins played together at Bowie High School for three seasons and were both touted players. Off the field, they fell somewhere between acquaintances and friends.

But, as Paogofie noted, when the Rams began looking at him, his relationship with Hawkins started to grow. Paogofie reached out to his former high school teammate, who was a freshman at the time.

Hawkins, only wanting the best for Paogofie, gave him an honest assertion about his experience. But, he had nothing but positive things to say about CSU’s program. So, Hawkins pitched it to Paogofie.

“I just told him about the brotherhood we have and I told him about our culture,” Hawkins said. “That’s basically what makes or breaks a team. The culture of CSU football is just building off of each other and feeding off of each other. I also told him about the campus and the things that he can get involved in to help him progress as a student.”

With the sentiments coming from a credible source, Paogofie bought in immediately. Though he did not solely make his decision based off of Hawkins’ interpretations, the CSU cornerback’s influence was felt. After all, Paogofie was being heavily recruited by Utah State, Lamar, and Texas State as well.

All of which paled in comparison as he did not know personally anyone that attended. 

“It brings a little bias in having an alumni from your high school to talk to, a guy that you actually played on the same side of the ball with in high school,” Hawkins said. “It’s pretty cool having that upper hand. A lot of times you have to go into places where you don’t know anyone.”

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Though the two players were not extremely close growing up, their relationship extends further than just being teammates at two programs. Hawkins actually went to Elementary school with a few of Paogofie’s cousins. They also happened to be pretty close friends.

Hawkins grew up about two blocks away from Paogofie’s cousins. He recalls frequently walking over to their house after school to play basketball.

Paogofie’s mother, Falemalama, even gave Hawkins a call when her son committed to CSU reminding him to watch out for Paogofie.

When Paogofie arrived in Fort Collins, the two began to spend a lot of time together and develop a friendship outside of football. Hawkins made a concerted effort to take Paogofie under his wing when Paogofie was a freshman. The comfort that Hawkins provided aided Paogofie at smoothly getting accustomed to his new life.

“Whenever I needed something he was always there, even a ride since he had a car,” Paogofie said. “He was like a big brother to me and still is. He would even cook for me sometimes. It’s really nice, I love that dude.”

Now a sophomore that Bobo praises the potential of, Paogofie is clearly settled into what was once a new, intimidating environment. In the end, a significant amount of recruiting draw came from Hawkins, a feat that has changed the relationship of the two Rams. 

Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.