No surprise here: Hardy going pro

James Hardy waives goodbye to you.

Press release from IU follows:

JAMES HARDY DECLARES HIMSELF ELIGIBLE FOR 2008 NFL DRAFT

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Junior wide receiver James Hardy of the Indiana football team has elected to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2008 NFL Draft. This season, Hardy became the Hoosiers’ all-time and single-season record holder in receptions and touchdown catches and holds the school’s career mark in receiving yards.

“After carefully examining my football career here at Indiana University, and consulting with my family, I have concluded that I have reached the pinnacle of my college football career,” Hardy said. “Therefore, I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare myself eligible for the NFL Draft this spring. I would like to thank Indiana University for its support over these past few years. Finally, it is my fondest hope that I have the blessing of this great University and its supporters.”

Hardy was a first team All-Big Ten selection and was named an All-American by the Associated Press, SI.com, Rivals.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

“We appreciate everything James has contributed to Indiana University,” Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. “It has been amazing watching him grow not only as a football player, but also as a man. James leaves Indiana as the greatest wide receiver in school history and we wish him all of the best in the NFL.”

Hardy shattered Indiana¹s career and single-season receiving marks in 2007. Hardy is the Hoosiers’ all-time receiving leader in touchdowns (36), yards (2,740) and receptions (191). He is the only wide receiver in Indiana history to surpass 2,500 career yards, 175 career receptions and 35 career touchdowns.

The Fort Wayne, Ind., native completed the 2007 season with 1,125 yards, 16 touchdowns (second nationally), 79 receptions, 86.5 yards per game and 14.2 yards per grab. Hardy set new single-season school records in touchdowns and receptions while finishing second in yards and becoming just the fourth Hoosier to reach the 1,000-yard mark. He caught a TD in 11 of 13 games,
which is a school record, and finished tied for third on the Big Ten’s single-season list with his 16 scores.

Hardy is looking to become the third Hoosier since 2002 to be drafted and move on to the NFL as a wide receiver. Courtney Roby was selected in the third round by Tennessee in 2005, while Antwaan Randle El was chosen in the second round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002. Eleven former Hoosiers are currently on NFL rosters.

39 comments

  1. All the best to James. He has grown as a man and that is what counts. I hope he can continue to grow as a player. Hard work will pay off because he has great gifts. There is much to learn at the next level. As a fan, I am sorry to lose a great player. As an individual, I wish good luck for a successful future. Take the high road James

  2. Big mistake, he needs one more year of semi-pro (college), earn his degree and hone in on his pass catching abilities. I feel he needs to be drafted by a team with alot of patience and time to work with him on skills that are needed to succeed at the next level. Otherwise he could be back on the streets in Ft. Wayne. I wish him well and thank him for the great football, but a college degree could pay off more in the long run in case the NFL doesn’t work out.

  3. Mike –
    I believe Mr. Hardy will earn his degree in the spring, please give him the respect a man of his character deserves rather than disparaging remarks about his past. Go James, good luck and thanks for all you gave to IU.

  4. James will have his degree either this spring or this summer if he wants it.

    You have my blessing James. Thanks for being a great Hoosier. Represent us in the NFL with the class the current NFL hoosiers such as A.R.E, Kris Dihelman, Trent Green, and Adewale Ogunlye have displayed recently.

    Best of luck!

  5. Mike,
    I don’t see how Hardy’s draft status could get any higher than it is now. First Team All Big Ten, All-American by numerous outlets, 36 career TD’s in only 3 seasons of college football, nearly every IU receiving record, etc. I agree there are probably some things he could probably fine-tune if he stayed and as an IU football fan I wish we could have him another season. However, considering the year he had with the fact that he’ll almost certainly be picked in the 2nd or 3rd round in the NFL Draft seems like plenty of reason to leave. He also has a young boy that he wants to support and I’m sure that played a factor in his decision. I think it may be a bit harsh to say that if things don’t work out for him then he could be “back on the streets of Fort Wayne.” He’s probably close to his degree anyway since he redshirted his freshman year and has been here for 4 academic years. If things for some reason, don’t workout for James, he could back and finish any classwork that needs to be completed, have his degree, and therefore stay off the streets of Fort Wayne as you claim he will be if something goes wrong. Thank you James for all you’ve done for IU football and best of luck in the NFL.

  6. Playing against the schedule that IU plays is quite different than playing against the Patriots, Steelers, Colts or any other NFL defense!! Hardys numbers while I admit are great, you have to consider the competition. Was I the only one who watched the Insight Bowl? IU plays 8 home games next year, just imagine the numbers Hardy could rack up next year and possibly redeem himself in another Bowl. I wish James nothing but the best, but under the circumstances I think the best thing would be to return to IU for another year.

  7. Will he be a high second round pick or will he be able to move up into the first round at the combines?

  8. To those that question Hardy, remember that he is projected to be a late first round or early second round pick and will command a guaranteed signing bonus of 4-5 million dollars — more than most people see in their lifetimes. Receiver Anthony Gonzales of the Colts, who was the last pick in the 1st round in 2007, signed a 5 year/7.5 million dollar deal with 5.4 guaranteed. Hardy is a senior acedmically and will likely not return for the 2nd semester as he focuses on working out and his nfl prospects. Now who here would turn down 5 million to return to school with a chance of becoming injured and seeing your draft stock decrease? I doubt there are few, if any.

  9. Comparing Hardy to Anthony Gonzales is ridiculous, how many National Championship games has Hardy played in? Lets get real, how many NFL teams is going to offer Hardy a 5 mill deal after the Insight Bowl debacle. Who did they play, oh yeah OK State whose D gave up a zillion points this past season. Troy Polamalu, Rodney Harrison, Bob Sanders among others are probably licking their chops to see Mr. Hardy on the field. Better stay in school James and you can thank IU for you college education by helping us to another bowl game.

  10. Hardy says in his news release he has reached the pinnacle of his college career. Better re-wind the tape of the Insight Bowl and re-think that statement.

  11. Back off on the Hardy bashing. Gonzalez is solid, but did he face the double & triple coverage Hardy faced throughout his career? OSU dropped back and smothered (often mugging) Hardy to stop him — because IU has limited weapons.

    OSU was loaded and Gonzalez thrived. Hardy will be a solid NFL pick. Anyone who doubts his draft status hasn’t paid attention to his performance, or the reviews by NFL scouts.

  12. You may call it Hardy bashing but I love IU sports and all this goody goody feel good stories and moral victories needs to come to an end. Lets think about whats best for IU and its football future, wouldn’t you agree that college sports nation wide is offering kids free college scholarships and are gettinmg slighted by kids leaving school early? And in reality how many of those kids actually make it in pro sports? I don’t know the number, but I’d bet it’s a low pecentage.

  13. He’ll be around in the 2nd round, and the third, and the fourth. I see him being picked up somewhere in the 4th round. There have ALWAYS been questions about his work rate, his maturity level and his overall desire. He’s got Charles Rogers’s attitude without Rogers’s skill.

  14. Hardy is not slighting the university. He put in his 4 years at Indiana (he was still in class while he was red-shirted), he helped bring back a football program from the dead, and became a positive influence on the community. While it would be great if he stuck around another year, he is under no obligation to do so after what he has given the Indiana program. He’ll be fine in the NFL because he’ll have quarterbacks who can get the ball to him in a more consistent fashion (and I mean no disrespect to Kellen by saying this. He’s only a sophomore and will continue to head towards being a phenomenal player). Hardy will be more successful than any other IU athlete that left the university before their eligibility was up (with the exception of Isiah Thomas…the basketball player, not the coach). Good luck to him in the future and I’ll be rooting for him wherever he ends up.

  15. Hardy had a chance to shine on a national stage in the Insight Bowl and was a no-show. He had at least three drops that you have to make to play in the NFL and if I were an NFL G.M., I would think twice about how high I drafted him. His complaint that OSU had its defense designed to take him away was ludicrous. If you’re an NFL caliber receiver, you should overcome that.

  16. Even if Hardy is picked in the 2nd, he’ll still see a few million guaranteed headed his way. I mean, if you were him do you take several million guaranteed or come back and play at IU for the free tuition and $7500 or so yearly allowance that players receieve for room and board and risk injury and a subpar year?

    Would I love for Hardy to stay at IU? Of course! But we have to be realistic too. I mean, how many people will also criticize Eric Gordon for leaving early in April and say that he shouldn’t take the guaranteed NBA contracts for millions to return to Bloomington?

  17. Most successful college football programs have numerous 5th year seniors thats why they are successful, Hardy is going for the bucks, forget loyalty to good ole IU. Its called greed and when you go for greedy reasons usually it doesn’t pan out. Good luck James, not always is the shortcut the best route, but I’m sure you’ll find that out in due time…I do hope you achieve your degree I feel you are going to need it…

  18. EJ vs. Hardy? Please!!!! Talk about apples and oranges!! If EJ could play football as well as he can basketball we would be talking Heisman Trophy!! Thats not even a fair comparison

  19. Pinnacle of college career…lol I like Phils comment about Hardys positve influence on the community, was that before or after the abuse charges were dropped?

  20. Mike, lay off Hardy. He needs to do what is best for HIM. His stock is very high right now. He is projected to go in the first two rounds, not the 4th. He will get his degree this spring, by the way.

  21. IU Jimmy I am quite sure you have Hardys best intrest at heart, but we need to be honest here. Cam got fired at Miami so a 2nd rd. pick no longer seems feasible for Hardy… Man do all IU fans have their heads in the sand or what? If anything Hardys departure may mean we can find a receiver to catch the ball in the big games as well as againist the lesser of opponents. Go HOOSIERS!!

  22. IU (and all Universities) make millions of dollars off their athletes while paying them next to nothing. Universities run it like a business and so shouldl the athletes. Hardy can finish his degree any time in the future. Heading to the nfl is a no-brainer.

  23. Jon last time I checked a degree from IU can be quite expensive, not to mention the tutoring that athletes get, if not for the tutoring many athletes wouldn’t be able to receive the grades to graduate. And the perks of being an athlete on campus!! Well I’ll leave that to your imagination. Also the money one can earn after receiving their degree with INDIANA imprinted on it, it’s hard to even put a dollar amount on that. I just think people think college athletes aren’t being paid, I beg to differ…

  24. Who can be surprised it has been mentioned among fans he may leave after this year. James Hardy has accumulated several records for IU and hopefully be inducted into the IU Hall of Fame. I don’t blame him for leaving now but I still wish some kids not see the money and simply finish school out of integrity to show education is still very important. It is his decision and I hope the very best for him and hopefully the Colts can grab him.

  25. I think it’s very positive for the IU football program that they’re sending a player to the NFL early. It shows recruits that they have the possibility of reaching the next level with stellar play at Indiana. I have enjoyed his career at IU and look forward to following his NFL career.

  26. Are ya’ll serious, James Hardy is the best receiver in the history of Indiana Football and he’s only played 3 years, not only did he break Courtney Roby’s records he shattered them, and Roby was a second round pick I believe. Lets take a moment to thank James Hardy for being the main reason IU got to a bowl game for the first time in 14 years. People’s comments about him in the Insight bowl are ridiculous too, he was double and triple teamed the whole game, and often it was poor passes by Kellen Lewis that made it hard for him to catch the ball. Yea he had some drops, but when he has an NFL QB throwing more accurately to him he’ll be able to do much better. My final point that I would like to make is probably my boldest, but I’m going to make it anyways, and that is that Hardy has a chance to have a Randy Moss type impact. Hardy is an unbelievable athlete, remember he was recruited to play basketball, and with a 6′ 7″ frame and good speed he can do a lot of damage in the NFL, especially if he can play alongside another already solid receiver. I know I’ll buy a James Hardy jersey as soon as he gets drafted and I’ll just remember I had faith in him when he is in the Pro Bowl a few years from now.

  27. he will be making the big bucks and all of us can be losers typing in on the hoosier times blogs, WHO DO YOU THINK IS ON THE STREETS & GETS THE LAST LAUGH GOING TO THE BANK? GOOD LUCK JAMES TRUE IU FANS WILL MISS YOU.

  28. I am reading all this, and I finally need to say something. Hardy has to do what he feels is best for him. He signed on to play football and get an education for doing so. The later part being the most important piece of this. He has spent 4 years on this team, gone through 3 coaches, and will graduate this spring, fulfilling what college football is supposed to be for.

    I have enjoyed watching him this last 3 years, he is a special receiver, and has the ability to become a great player at the next level.

    Personally I do not feel he is ready. Yes in the bowl game he was doubled up on, but the drops he had are catches an NFL receiver makes, doubled or not. At 6′-7″, with his ability to get down field with his long stride, how often do you think he will get 1 on 1 coverage?

    Of course I know he will prove me wrong, and I hope he does. It has been a pleasure to watch him play on Saturdays, now I hope my Packers will pick him up and I can root for his team on Sundays.

    P.S. – Did anyone else catch Darius Willis on ESPN2 tonight? Very impressive showing.

  29. Mike- seems to me that you just don’t like Hardy for some reason. The comparison between he and Gonzalez actually is quite fitting. Gonzalez was never that great of a wide reciever at OSU, yes he has “National Title” experience, but how many champioship teams was Randy Moss on at Marshall? How many title games did Hines Ward play in at Georgia, or Calvin Johnson at GT? Fact is he is a big reciever, and has decent speed, Gonzalez is and never will be anything more than a slot reciever, he is too small to match up with the Champ Baileys and Sheldon Browns of the NFl. Hardy does need to work on his hands, yet so did TO, and we see how his career has progressed.

  30. For anyone who wants to watch, Darius Willis will be playing in the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American game on Team Red. This game includes 9 RB’s between the two teams, including the number 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, & number 11 ranked backs by ESPN. I am sure he will get minimal carries, but you will see some of the best high school players in the nation.

  31. hardy is a 2nd round pick at worst. he has the one thing you can’t teach and thats size, so a lot of teams will give him decent looks. one thing to consider — the wr class this year is not all that great. with a good workout, it is entirely possible he could move into the late first round. to say he is a 4th round pick is quite absurd, because he is so tall. scouts wont look at just one game but rather his entire career. and to say he is being greedy is idiotic. i don’t know much about his childhood, but i am guessing he never had millions of dollars growing up. at worst, say he is somehow picked in the 4th round (which is dumb to say because you don’t know anything), he will have 500,000 guaranteed in the bank. worst case. more likely case? 2nd round pick, at least 2 mil in the bank. who wouldn’t do that? he didn’t come to IU to get a degree in sport management or whatever, he came to IU to play sports. to call him greedy for having career aspirations and doing what is best for those aspirations is stupid

  32. o and to the other mike, hines ward played qb at georgia and anthony gonzalez is 6 ft and almost 200 lbs and runs a 4.3 40. i think he has the potential (but by no means is a lock) to be a #1 receiver on a team. he did a lot of stuff outside the slot this year because of harrisons injury

  33. Of course he is going for the bucks.. If he thinks he can get the dough go for it. As a football player you have a limited career. IU isn’t going to be much better next year anyway. Not with Lynch at the helm. I say get out while you can James!
    And before everyone gets all defensive about next year.. We will probably make it to a bowl with another powder puff schedule.. But we will be crushed again. Actually, without Hardy, we may not even win 6 games next year. Buckle up for the long haul Hoosiers!
    Greenspan is a fat, lazy, idiot!!!!

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