By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Munford Head Coach Slade Calhoun will make it clear to anyone within listening range he’s going to miss the crew of Kelton Mason, Jarra Dowell, Jesse Savage, Jacoby Miguel and Traveon Hawkins.
In recent weeks he’s been celebrating that group of seniors as a brotherhood as they are securing their college futures. On March 9, Calhoun, players, coaching staff and administration of Munford High School gathered in the cafeteria to celebrate the signing of Hawkins to Campbellsville University in Kentucky joining teammate Kelton Mason at the NAIA institution.
“Traveon got Traveon to the next level,” Calhoun said. “It’s like I tell those guys all the time ‘The film speaks for itself.’ I can call colleges and all this stuff and tell what a great person someone is or what a great kid someone is. The big eye in the sky don’t lie. Either they see something they want or they don’t.
“All I did was advise him if he asked me for advice like my own son or daughter,” he continued. “I’ll be a lier if I say I got Traveon Hawkins into school Traveon Hawkins got Traveon Hawkins into school.”
Hawkins said two key elements helped him achieve his dream of playing at the next level.
“Family is very important,” he said. “And here (at Munford) we’re like a family. My coaches helped me develop a lot and made me put in the work. And I didn’t want to let my teammates down like I don’t want to let my family down. But being a part of my family is the toughest team.”
Cynthia gave birth to Kiontae, Traveon, Tamira, Tahja and Dametrius.
“Traveon is one of the most responsible kids I have,” she said. “There is five of them. He’s the most responsible out of all of them. He’s next to the oldest. It was just in him. If those girls get out of line he’s like ‘No, we’re not doing that.’ He’ll be like, ‘Mom, get your baby he’s getting out of line.’ I’m not worried about him going up there at all. He’ll be fine.”
Hawkins will take his skills to Kentucky to play for Head Coach Perry Thomas. Thomas has been the coach of the Fighting Tigers for almost 15 years taking on competition in the Mid-South Conference.
Calhoun said Hawkins making the move from defense as a sophomore to offense helped him gain the attention of opponents and recruiters.
“Clearly he’s explosive,” he said. “He’s a playmaker. He really worked with the coaches. We started throwing the ball a little bit more so they worked with his hands. I think he really jumped off the film catching the ball in space.”
Calhoun said during Hawkins’ 9-game senior season, he was the standout in games against rivals like Millington and Brighton.
“He won us some ball games like the Brighton game and the Dyer County game as far as catching,” he noted. “He’s a difference maker. He had definitely jumped off the film. I think a couple of offers he had came from other high school coaches telling college coaches about him. That’s what kids don’t understand, the word of mouth is very powerful.”
While his teammates, coaches and competition brag about his offensive skills, Cynthia has been singing her son’s praises since he started playing football around the age of 7 for the SYS Millington Trojans. She said what makes her the proudest is Traveon getting a chance to live his dream and chase something more important that the game of football.
“Wonderful day and it’s really a blessing to have him go to a school with a full ride,” she said. “It’s complete with room, board and everything.
“On the field I hope he achieves everything he wants to,” Cynthia concluded. “Most of all I want him to get an education so after football he can succeed in life. Because football is not forever.”