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Michigan safety Brad Hawkins says he's returning for 2021 season

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan’s secondary got a boost on Monday with safety Brad Hawkins’ announcement that he will return for the upcoming season.

With Michigan defensive back Brad Hawkins reacts after breaking up a pass intended for  Iowa tight end Nate Wieting (39) during the Hawkeyes' final drive late in the fourth quarter.

Hawkins is the second defensive starter to announce his return, joining defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who recently said he will return for the 2021 season. Hutchinson is recovering from a broken ankle suffered last season and required surgery. Right tackle Jalen Mayfield, defensive end Kwity Paye, linebacker Cam McGrone, are among starters who have decided to prepare for the NFL Draft.

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Hawkins has played four seasons for the Wolverines, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic that shortened the 2020 season, players have the option of an additional season. Last fall, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Hawkins was fourth on the team in tackles with 39 and had two pass breakups. He suffered an unspecified shoulder injury late in the season.

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“This past year has been unlike any that we have ever seen before, filled with many challenges, yet it was a learning experience for me,” Hawkins said in his statement shared on Twitter. “I have learned so much about myself and where I see myself going in the coming years.

“I was so excited for the opportunity to play this season to be able to sharpen my skills and be the best player I know I was meant to be, but due to unforeseen circumstances, our season was cut short. There is so much more work left to do.”

Michigan was 2-4 last season and canceled its final three games because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Last Friday, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh signed an extension that takes him through the 2025 season. Last month, he dismissed defensive coordinator Don Brown after five seasons and sources have indicated he has targeted Baltimore Ravens’ linebackers coach Mike Macdonald as the next coordinator.

Twitter: @chengelis