Anttaj “Taj” Hawthorne is a former NFL and AFL football defensive lineman. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut on November 15, 1981. He moved to Hamden, CT in the 5th grade, where he was introduced to sports by his older brother, Tony Hawthorne. His first sport was baseball and it wasn’t until middle school that he found football while living in Eudora, Arkansas with his aunt for a year.
He attended Hamden High School, played on the varsity football team all four years of his high career and was a member of the 2000 USA Today High School All-American football team. In 2016, he was inducted to the Hamden Education Foundation Hall of Fame.