By Luke Thomas
UPDATE 1/18/20: Since the publishing of this story Auburn University announced that Hardy signed with them in the Early Signing Period.
The oldest rule in the book when it comes to recruiting in College Football is that the recruitment is never over until the ink on the paper dries. The University of Tennessee is very aware of this principle and is still pursuing Jay Hardy, a top in-state defensive line target who is currently committed to Auburn University.
When Hardy first elected to commit to Auburn over Tennessee it came as a monumental shock as most experts believed that it was all but a lock that Hardy would be headed to Knoxville to play for his home state Volunteers. However, it is now fully apparent that Tennessee is placing a full court press on Hardy as they have sent down three of the staff’s coaches to watch the Chattanooga native play in a basketball game for McCallie High School. According to Patrick MacCoon, a reporter at the Times Free Press, the three coaches that Tennessee sent to watch Hardy are defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, and inside linebacker/special teams coach Kevin Sherrer, who is Hardy’s primary recruiter. Some may see this as intriguing because Jay Hardy reportedly “shut down his recruitment” earlier in the week.
The 6’4’’, 280-pound lineman is the 2nd ranked player in the State of Tennessee and 9th ranked DT, according to 247 Sports, while Rivals.Com has Hardy rated as the best player inside the Tennessee state line and the 6th best at his position. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and LSU were just four of the thirty-eight schools that offered Hardy a scholarship, making him one of the most highly recruited players in his region.
While recruiting is generally seen as a very unpredictable business, Hardy’s recruitment has been extraordinarily unpredictable, and while Tennessee may have a slim chance, they’re still pushing hard for one of the top players in their state. Hardy will sign February 5th on National Signing Day as we could just be in for a very exciting end to a very interesting recruitment.