Ex-St. Aug stars Doss, Hawkins give Southern contrasting targets
Southwestern Athletic Conference rivals can get used to the sight of Charles Hawkins and Lee Doss zipping through passing lanes in the secondary and darting toward the open field.
It’s the same sight folks in the Catholic League saw when the pair of St. Augustine High School players were just learning to run routes.
“We’ve been playing together since my freshman year of high school, his eighth-grade year,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins and Doss may come from the same place, but the two Southern wideouts hit opponents from different directions.
Hawkins is a small, shifty playmaker who measures 5-foot-8, 180 pounds as he enters his senior season. Doss is a taller, more physical receiver, a junior whose 6-2, 170-pound frame gives him a decided edge against most SWAC corners.
Together, they could be just what Southern quarterbacks J.P. Douglas and Dray Joseph need to help the Jaguars get over the hump.
“I feel like they’re twins,” Southern wide receivers coach Jorge Baez said. “They’re from the same high school, so they have that bond.”
The Jaguars will look for big plays from the elusive Hawkins however they can get him the ball — be it on a short slant, a deep fade or even a handoff out the backfield. He also will join Virgil Williams in returning kicks.
Doss led Southern’s receiving corps in Saturday’s scrimmage, making two catches for 53 yards.
He would’ve had three catches for 90 yards and a touchdown had Joseph not overthrown him down the right sideline.
At practice Tuesday morning, Doss made one of the day’s big plays when Douglas found him for a long gain down the right sideline, completing a beautifully executed slant-and-go.
Doss hopes to build on a sophomore season in which he made 34 catches for 410 yards and four touchdowns. And he expects to get plenty of help from Hawkins, who grabbed 23 passes for 406 yards and two scores.
Doss said he and Hawkins both benefit from having the other running routes on the opposite side of the field.
“I know the DBs are going have to rub on him on the other side, and it will open things up for me,” Doss said. “Vice versa. If they put their focus on me, they’re going to open it up for him.”
As they enter their final season as college teammates, memories from their days in high school remain.
Hawkins still has an image of his younger teammate from the night Lee beat the Hahnville defense for his first career touchdown.
“He caught a curl route and broke it for 40 yards,” Hawkins said. “I made sure I was the first one down there to congratulate him.”
Given the great speed Hawkins possesses, it’s a good bet he caught up with Lee that night.
Baez compares Hawkins to Roscoe Parish and Dexter McCluster, players he coached at previous college coaching stops.
Players who work magic in open space.
“I remember this little dude I used to play with from park ball,” Doss said. “He used to be the fastest dude I knew. When we got to the freshman team, I was surprised when he told me he wasn’t the fastest. He pointed to Charles.”
The scenery has changed and the two are in college now. But Doss said Hawkins is still the fastest dude around.
“I just try to make the best play for my team and get up the field,” Hawkins said. “It’s not really about trying to make people miss. I’m just trying to get as much yards as I can and just get back to the huddle and do it again for my team.”
Both players hope they have enough big plays in them to help Southern enjoy a winning season.
Neither of them has been part of a championship team during their college careers. They went 4-7 last year.
“I have another year, but I want to win now,” Doss said. “I want Charles to go out with a bang.”
Advocate sportswriter Mike McCall contributed to this report.