"I am very stiff," says Hawthorne, who notes that he is still in pain after suffering bruises all over his body after being bounced around in a one vehicle accident when a Nissan Pathfinder ran off the road early Sunday morning and crashed while heading south on I-85 between LaGrange, Ga., and West Point, Ga., near the Alabama-Georgia state line.
"I just very sore and bruised up," he says. "Thank God I didn't break any bones. I am just very weak right now."
A passenger in the front seat of the vehicle, Claude Reese of Huntsville, a fellow AU student and Hawthorne's "close friend," died in the wreck, something that the football player says is deeply disturbing.
Hawthorne notes that he was a passenger in the backseat behind the driver and had been sleeping as a group of his friends returned to Auburn from spending the evening in Decatur, Ga., at the house of his brother, Theo Hawthorne, Jr., where the group of 11 Auburn students ate supper. They made the trip in two vehicles. Five others were in the 2000 Nissan Pathfinder with Hawthorne when they crashed.
The athlete says he remembers the vehicle going out of control and swerving from left to right before rolling over approximately 10 times and coming to rest on its side against a tree.
"All of the windows had shattered and my upper body was hanging out of the window," he says. "It was crazy. Crazy."
Hawthorne notes that he and his friends left for his brother's house in the Atlanta area after Saturday's football scrimmage and left to return home around 1:30 a.m.
"I am very blessed to even be alive," he says. "I wasn't supposed to be here today. My life was spared. This is my second accident in less than three months to be honest with you." He says that he had to go to the hospital earlier this year when he had a wreck near Vulcan Park in Birmingham. "It was pretty serious," he notes. "Not on the measure of this one, but it was bad enough where I had to go to the hospital."
Hawthorne says being involved in the accidents has made him extra cautious. "I probably won't be driving for a while," he says. "Everything is moving in slow motion now. I am way more alert than what I was. I am very cautious at anything whether it be in a car or just walking or anything. It will take some time for me to get over it."
Hawthorne, who redshirted last fall, is considered a promising player for the 2007 team.
The wide receiver will likely miss the rest of spring training, which concludes on March 17th with the annual A-Day Game. "I am really not thinking about football now," he says. "I am thinking about the family that just suffered a loss. I am thinking about the rest of the people who were injured in the accident and trying to get myself healthy and thinking about my friend who is still in the hospital as we speak." None of the other injuries are considered life-threatening.