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2022 NFL Draft: Former desert high school football stars hopeful for future opportunity

The 2022 NFL Draft is Thursday-Saturday this week in Las Vegas and a pair of former local stars are hoping to hear their name called.


"Excited to see what's going to happen," said Tayler Hawkins, former Palm Springs Indian star and NFL Draft hopeful.

The 24-year-old Hawkins was a big-time playmaker for the Indians in high school, helping Palm Springs to a CIF-SS championship in 2014, which was Hawkins' junior season.

"We all knew that Tayler could be special. In his 4 years at Palm Springs, he exceeded all expectations we had for him," said Dan Murphy, head football coach at Palm Springs high school.

"He will go down as one of the best players to have ever played here," said Murphy.

After his prep success, he then went on to be an impact player for the Aztecs of San Diego State. In his four seasons, Hawkins was a leader in the SDSU secondary.

The 6-1, 205 pound defensive back played 44 games, recording 170 total tackles and 3 interceptions. His best season was his last when he made 62 tackles, had 10 pass deflections and 2 interceptions.

"It's up in the air if I'm getting drafted or not but I've been talking to a lot of teams daily. If I go undrafted, I'll have a bunch of offers and can choose which team I want to go to," said Hawkins.


Another draft prospect is former Rancho Mirage kicker and punter Daniel Whelan, who was a featured student athlete of the week back in 2016.

"If you can get drafted, that's unbelievable. It's less than half a percentage of anybody that's ever played the game that gets an opportunity to get drafted but Daniel will probably in a better position if he doesn't get drafted because he will have more options on where he wants to go instead of where he has to go," said LD Matthews, head football coach at Rancho Mirage high school.

Whelan graduated from RMHS in the spring of 2017 and will forever be one of the top football players in program history.

"We're just extremely happy for him. You don't get those types of kids coming through your program every day so for him to be a Rattler, we're really proud of him," said Matthews.

Following an impressive career with the Rattlers, Whelan played college ball at UC-Davis. At 6-6, 215 pounds, he possesses a strong skill-set required for the position.

The NFL Draft starts Thursday with the first round, followed by rounds 2-3 on Friday and rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for more on this developing story.

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Blake Arthur

Sports Director Blake Arthur joined the KESQ/CBS Local 2 team in August of 2015. Learn more about Blake here.


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