Hunslet have confirmed the signing of Dewsbury winger Gareth Potts while a deal has also been struck with former Halifax three-quarter Ben Heaton.
Heaton’s contract at Halifax ended at the end of the season and Hunslet have moved quickly to secure the outside back.
Meanwhile, nine players – Liam Mackay, Daley Williams, Jack Coventry, Jack Walton, Gavin Duffy, Will Cooke, Matt Nicholson, Danny Halmshaw and Brad Foster – are leaving as Thornton reshapes his squad following a seventh-place finish.
Thornton, who has already signed experienced prop Richard Moore from Featherstone, believes former Sheffield and Hemel player Hawksworth, 25, will add further power to the Hunslet pack.
“Dan joins us following a successful season with York, where he helped them gain promotion to the Championship,” he said.
“He is a big, athletic frontrower, who will add size and power to our pack. He runs hard and tackles aggressively and has a terrific work ethic.
“He has been under the radar a little, but is now starting to fulfil his potential and developed well last year. “He brings a high level of enthusiasm and desire to succeed, and we look forward to him becoming an integral part of our squad.”
Former Leeds player Watson, 27, who has signed a two-year contract, joined Hunslet on a permanent deal in 2015 after impressing on dual-registration, and scored eight tries in 24 appearances this year before being hit by injury.
“Jimmy has given fantastic service to Hunslet, and is a massive fans’ favourite because of his wholehearted displays week in, week out,” explained Thornton.
“He works hard, he’s brave and he’s a real attacking threat from the back, which makes him one of the best fullbacks at this level.”
Thornton signed Braham, 23, from his former club Doncaster in June, and he produced a string of bright performances before being sidelined by injury.
“He is a powerful young prop, who will develop and improve the more he plays, and we definitely missed his aggressive go-forward and presence on the field at the back end of the year,” said the coach.