Introducing the 2005 Class: Jameon Hardeman

Very few states, if any, can claim to be as fertile a recruiting ground as Texas. The vast number of quality prospects there can cause many players to be overlooked. In the case of Jameon Hardeman, the Arizona State Sun Devils have noticed the defensive lineman early in the recruiting process, when the hometown schools virtually ignored him. Hardeman told Devils Digest that as far as he's concerned, it all worked out for the best anyway.

"I'm not mad," said the 6-5 256 Jameon Hardeman about being disregarded by the lone star state schools. "I was never was a (University of) Texas fan anyway, and really didn't like any Texas schools. Texas Tech was looking at me a little, but I wasn't really paying attention to them. I didn't know if I was gonna stay in Texas to play college football."

By his own admission, Hardeman knows that his performance in his junior year may have contributed to his recruiting situation. Nevertheless, shortly after that season he started to turn some heads. "I was slow to come around," he stated. "I didn't have a good junior year, but I knew I could play and I had a good senior year. People knew I had the potential, but they didn't know how good I really was. When they saw me practice, I did start to get some more recognition."

Arizona State was obviously one of those programs that realized the value of the defensive lineman. "(ASU's defensive line) Coach Monachino was in my coach's office the spring after my junior season, and I just happen to walk in," Hardeman recalled. "He said he was gonna come see me in practice, and sure enough he did. We talked a little about the school and the program. I got to know him over the months, and when I went to ASU for a visit, I just felt real comfortable with the guys there." Hardeman added that Tulsa, Oklahoma State, and Utah were other schools that came calling early in the recruiting process.

During his senior year, he collected 70 tackles, six quarterback sacks, and three forced fumbles. He was named to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Top 100 in the state of Texas, as well as first-team all district in 2004. "I'm a good pass rusher, I have a good technique, and I don't need a lot of time to get to the quarterback," Hardeman said as he described his skills. "I need to work on getting stronger and get my body developed. I'm working out now and I gained about ten pounds."

During his National Letter of Intent Day press conference, ASU head coach Dirk Koetter described Hardeman as a player that sports a nasty streak. The incoming ASU freshman said that his tenacity is a result of his leadership. "Off the field I'm a cool guy, but on the field I posses the leadership I had all my life," he stated. "I have to get the best from my teammates on every play. If I'm a leader I know I have to bring it every down, and lead by example. I just get a lot of energy from the game, the crowd…you get so excited and you come out and play hard. You really can't get that energy from nowhere else but the football field. I was just born with that energy (smile)."

A successful senior year landed Hardeman in the prestigious Texas high school All-Star game – the Coca Cola Bowl. "It was a good experience," he said of that event. "I got to play with a lot of guys that were going to Division I schools, so you got to see how talented other players were in the state. I think I did very well in the game." When he participated in that game, he was still undecided on the college of his choice. This was a golden opportunity for J.D. Walton, another member of ASU's 2005 recruiting class, to make a recruiting pitch. "I talked to J.D. every day," Hardeman recalled, "and he was telling me all the time ‘come to Arizona State.' He's a good player and I had fun going against him in practice."

During the recruiting season, Hardeman's name seemed to be always attached to teammate and fellow lineman Demarcus Granger, who signed with Okalahoma. It was always widely believed that the two were going to be a package deal, and Hardeman confirmed that notion. "He and I are close, but I couldn't ask him to follow me to Arizona State," Hardeman commented. "He had to make the best choice for him, but he came really close to coming to Arizona State. Arizona State was recruiting him hard to the end, and I tried to convince him. We thought we were always gonna go to the same school no matter what, but we just ended up going our separate ways."

The defensive lineman is fully qualified and ready to arrive in Tempe for the school's bridge program which starts next week. "I'm ready to come there and show everyone what I got," he said. "I'm gonna come there, work hard, and set the tone for myself. It just all depends how I do in camp. If I can get my body ready, play well, and get in the rotation early I won't redshirt."

Hardeman isn't only excited to embark on his Sun Devil career, but also to reap the benefits of playing away from the lone star state. "You get a chance to live by yourself, without that security blanket of being close to home. It forces you to grow up and learn how to deal with situations on your own."

And maybe in the not so distant future, opposing Pac-10 lineman are those who will have to deal with the Kimball high school standout and the unique situations he brings to the table on Saturdays…

Recruit Profile

Name

Jameon Hardeman

High School

Kimball (Dallas, Tex.)

Position

DL

Height

6-2

Weight

256

Date of birth

1/16/87

Birthplace

Dallas, Tex.

Nickname

"Hardy"

Favorite TV show

"Anything on ESPN"

Favorite movie

"Blue Hill Avenue"

Favorite singer/band

"Lil' Wayne"

Favorite food

"Anything BBQ"

Favorite drink

"Pink Lemonade"

Favorite athlete

"Michael Jordan"

Favorite pro team

"Dallas Cowboys"

Person you most admire

"My mom – she raised me. Raising me wasn't an easy job (smile)."

First football memory

"I was seven. I was trying to play running back and I didn't remember the plays."

One thing most people don't know about me

"I'm smarter than people think I am."

Why did you choose ASU?

"Coach Monachino"

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Successful in anything I do in life. I'd like to go into TV broadcasting."

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