Hardin Gets A Kick Out Of His Latest AU Visit

After a standout performance at Auburn's two-day kicking camp, a prospect from the Atlanta area earned a scholarship offer from the national champs.

Atlanta, Ga.--Austin Hardin's second visit to Auburn this year went a lot better for the rising senior than his first.

A 5-11, 195-pound kicker at Marist School, he put on a strong performance at Auburn's two-day kicking camp that ended on Tuesday and was invited to stick around and hang out with the coaches.

He won the longest kickoff competition with a 78-yarder that had a hang time of 4.2 seconds. Prior to that, with Auburn head coach Gene Chizik watching, he launched a kickoff that traveled 87 yards in the air.

As a result Hardin picked up his third scholarship offer and second from an SEC program. He notes that he was asked to call the coaches when he got home on Tuesday night and was told that Auburn wants to sign him.

"They said they were looking for a combo guy who can punt, too, but when they saw my kickoffs they said ‘we don't know anybody who is going to be kicking it 87 yards so you changed our mind right away,'" Hardin says.

After the camp Hardin toured campus with his father and brother. The family also spent time with the coaches and came away impressed, Hardin notes.

I finally got to meet all of the coaches and they are awesome," he says. "I really love them. It was a really good feel."

That was quite a contrast from his last visit to the campus. "I came to Auburn for a junior day and there were tons of kids and I guess they didn't really recognize me at that point," Hardin says.

Hardin says he will be ready to choose a college by the middle of July, but before he does that he will likely participate in more camps. He says he will likely go to Florida and Virginia Tech and he will definitely attend Jamie Kohl's national kicking competition in Wisconsin next month. He notes that he is currently ranked as the No. 1 kicking prospect in the country by Kohl and he wants to end the summer that way.

Kohl directed the kicking camp at Auburn that attracted several hundred high school players for the two-day event this week.

As junior at Marist the kicker attracted attention with his 59-yard game-winning field goal vs. Southwest DeKalb last season. He is also a three-year starter in soccer. Prior to his junior football season he was a backup kicker to Justin Moore, an All-State selection in 2009 who signed with Georgia Tech.

Hardin says Tennessee has offered a scholarship as has Buffalo and notes that the coaches at Ole Miss have told him to expect an offer after he made all three of his 55-yard field goals in a kicking competition in Oxford.

At the Auburn camp he reached the finals of the field goal competition, but was the runnerup when he was wide on a 63-yarder. "It had plenty of distance," he says. "I actually drilled the ground and almost made it from that distance. Coach Chizik was very impressed."

Hardin says as a junior he made 12 or 13 of his 20 field goal attempts for Marist. "Of the ones I?missed, two were blocked and the others were over 50. At the recent camps I have been going to I have been going like 19-20 on field goals.

"I have really got a lot more accurate, which has impressed coaches, too," he adds.

The kicker says that he is keeping an open mind on his college choice. He notes that he hasn't grown up with a favorite college team. His mother graduated from Georgia State and his father is a graduate of Shorter.

Hardin attended last season's Auburn victory over Georgia and came away impressed with the game day atmosphere. "Auburn is definitely one of my top schools," he says. "It is close to home and my parents can come to all of my games. I am very interested in Auburn."

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