STATE COLLEGE – Penn State defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins is stepping away from football.

On Wednesday, the redshirt junior defender announced his retirement from the sport. He’s scheduled to graduate this summer with a broadcast journalism degree.

Aeneas Hawkins is the son of Johnstown native Artrell Hawkins Jr., who starred at Bishop McCort Catholic High School and the University of Cincinnati before an NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots.

His Johnstown region football ties also include his uncle Andrew Hawkins, a Bishop McCort Catholic High School graduate who played at the University of Toledo before playing in the NFL with Cleveland and Cincinnati. His cousin, Greater Johnstown High School graduate Shamar Jones, went through the recruiting process with Aeneas and eventually signed with Indiana University.

The younger Hawkins grew up in Cincinnati as his father, a NFL second-round draft pick in 1998, played for the Bengals.

Aeneas Hawkins played football at Archbishop Moeller High School, one of the top scholastic programs in the country.

“After four years and many conversations with those closest to me, I’ve made the decision to end my football career,” Hawkins said in a statement he posted to Twitter.

“Although much of my time was spent battling injury, my experience as a Penn State student-athlete was better than I could have imagined.”

Hawkins, a four-star prospect, signed with Penn State as part of the Nittany Lions’ 2018 recruiting class.

He held additional scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Iowa, Indiana and other Power Five programs.

Hawkins redshirted during his first season with the program in 2018. He played in one game in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. In 2020, Hawkins earned Developmental Squad Defensive Player of the Week honors on two occasions.

“College football was always a dream of mine,” Hawkins said.

“My brothers in the locker room, coaches, the entire Penn State football staff and Penn State community made this journey worthwhile. I’m forever thankful for you all, and feel so honored to be part of this family.”

Elton Hayes is a veteran sports writer who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at ehayes @cnhi.com or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

Elton Hayes is a veteran sports writer who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at ehayes@cnhi.com or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

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