Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
There are now only 82 days remaining before the start of IU’s 2015 season. #82 is currently not worn by any IU player so we are getting into the “Way Back Machine” and taking a look at one of the most dynamic receivers in IU history, James Hardy.
-Weight: 220 pounds
-Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
James Hardy came to IU after a successful high school career as a dual-sport athlete at Elmhurst High School. Hardy starred in football and basketball and earned himself All-State selections in both sports. He redshirted in 2004 and then burst onto the scene as a RS freshman in 2005, hauling in 61 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was rewarded for his play by being named to the Freshman All-America team. His RS sophomore season brought more success and he landed on the All-Big Ten Second Team for the second straight year. Hardy eclipsed 1000 yards (1075) during his RS junior season and became the all-time leader in touchdowns (36), yards (2690) and receptions (186). After his successful 2007 season, he opted to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
I have a lot of good memories of watching James Hardy sky over defenders and pull down fade routes in the corner of the end zone. Hardy was a physically imposing wideout that was exceptional at winning “jump balls” over defensive backs. His height and good hands made him a prodigious red zone target and he was quicker than you’d expect a 6’8” player to be. Hardy was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft but he was never able to establish himself in the league and he retired from the game in 2013 after short stints with two different teams in the Arena Football League. Hardy’s post-athletic career has not gone nearly as well his time on the field did. He was arrested in May of 2014 on felony charges for attacking police officers and was remanded to a mental facility when a judge deemed him unfit for trial. We wish Hardy the best of luck in recovering from whatever is ailing him and living a successful post-football life.
Come back to Hoosier Huddle tomorrow as we tick down to day #81!