Deontre Hardwick tormented Springdale’s offense all game Friday night.
The Fort Smith (Ark.) Northside three-star linebacker racked up five sacks and forced a fumble while also rushing for a touchdown on offense in the Grizzlies’ 34-17 win.
“I’ve had plenty (of sacks) throughout a season, but never five in one game,” Hardwick said.
He was in the Bulldogs’ backfield much of the night, putting pressure on Springdale quarterback Jack Lindsey. Despite constantly getting hit, Lindsey never came out of the game.
After he sacked Lindsey for the fifth time, late in the fourth quarter, Hardwick helped him to his feet and gave him a pat on the back.
“That’s one of the toughest quarterbacks I’ve ever played against,” Hardwick said. “I haven’t played against a quarterback that took that many licks and still stayed in the game. I had to congratulate him on being tough.”
Hardwick was directly responsible for a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, which Northside needs, as it trailed 17-13 at halftime.
His 2-yard touchdown run midway through the quarter gave Northside a three-point lead. Then, he forced a fumble when he sacked Lindsey near the end of the quarter. One of his teammates scooped it up and ran it back for a touchdown, capping the 21-point quarter.
“It was a clear run,” Hardwick said. “I got off the tight end or tackle and just made a play for my team and we scored off of it.”
The performance showed why he was rated as a four-star linebacker and was in Scout’s Top 200 prospects in the 2016 class at one point.
However, Hardwick has struggled in the classroom and it doesn’t look like he is going to qualify academically, meaning he’ll likely have to go the junior college route.
So far, the only junior college he has talked to has been Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.
“We talked for a little bit,” Hardwick said. “It wasn’t anything major. They were just explaining to me the process and stuff like that.”
He said he hasn’t talked to Arkansas’ coaches lately, but he knows the Razorbacks have had success with junior college players in recent years.
That success includes Martrell Spaight, who, like Hardwick, was a linebacker from Arkansas. He went to a junior college before becoming an All-SEC linebacker for the Razorbacks in 2014.
“Sometimes that is just the route you have to take,” Hardwick said. “Some people don’t get it done in the classroom. Some people don’t get the offers they deserve.
“That’s just the route I may have to take.”