July 16, 2008

Top Miss RB still coy about recruiting

If Drew Allen is Ole Miss' top quarterback target, a running back coaches would like to see lined up behind Allen is four-star Monticello (Lawrence County HS), Miss. athlete Kendrick Hardy.

Hardy, a Rivals100 prospect, recently picked up an offer from Tulane to go along with offers from Ole Miss, Auburn, Alabama, Southern Miss, and Mississippi State.

Hardy, 6-foot, 210 pounds, also recently received some good news on the academic front that may cause even more schools to offer - he scored a 16 on his ACT. While a 17 is required to qualify, a 16 on his initial try puts him in either a position to re-take the test to improve his score by a point, or improve on his current 2.5 GPA by a few percentage points where he would qualify under the NCAA's sliding scale (lower ACT score offsets by a higher GPA and vice versa). He would need approximately a 2.7 GPA under the sliding scale with a 16 on his ACT. Hardy said he's taking an online course this summer to improve his GPA.

Despite working on his grades, Hardy says he's attending scheduled workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in preparation for the upcoming season.

Hardy rushed for 2,103 yards and 29 touchdowns on 175 carries last season and is currently ranked the No. 2 player in the state of Mississippi by Rivals.com and the fifth best running back in the nation.

Hardy has been coy when it comes to revealing information about the recruiting process, saying he's open when it comes to recruiting and will wait until after the season to make his decision.

A previous report had him listing the five schools that had offered (before the Tulane offer was made) as his Top 5.

However, on Tuesday in an interview with RebelSports.net, Hardy declined to name any favorites and again just stressed that he's open.

He did open the door for a couple of other schools, should they show interest.

"I like both LSU and Florida and would be interested in them," he said.

Ole Miss' Elite Camp on July 26, which is the final camp of the season and by invitation only to some top prospects, is beginning to show the makings of a major event for the Rebel staff when it comes to recruiting, with coaches evaluating some prospects who have yet to be offered, and gaining an inside edge on prospects they have offered.

Hardy falls into the later category; however, he was somewhat non-committal about attending the camp.

"I'm thinking about going to camp, I just haven't decided yet," he said.

In the Rebels' favor is that Hardy has previously been on campus for an earlier junior day.

"I liked it up there," he said. "It was good, the coaches, the facilities, the campus, everything."

While the Rebels have some stiff competition, they haven't lost much ground on Hardy over the summer as he hasn't attended any other camps and said he hasn't taken any unofficial visits recently.

He participated in the Baton Rouge Nike Camp and visited Mississippi State earlier this year.

Hardy said that he could see himself playing for Ole Miss and said that coaches, the environment and playing time will all factor into his final decision.

And, while the Rebels could get a decision on Drew Allen, their top quarterback target, it appears the Hardy situation could play out until the season is over.

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