RECRUITING: OU/FSU Battle for Hardrick

Matt Hardrick, the 6-5, 340-pound offensive lineman from Orlando Edgewater has all the tools to be a top tier offensive lineman at the collegiate level. The four star Hardrick is rated number nine at his position by Gator Country spoke with the talented athlete at home Thursday and here's what he had to say.

GC: What strengths and skills will Matt Hardrick bring to the next level?

MH: "I'm real quick off the ball. I have no problems with my quickness. I really focus on locking on to my man and try to put him on the ground."

GC: How would you rate yourself in terms of pass and run blocking ability? Do you have a preference?

MH: "I feel like I'm equally good at both. Pass or run; it doesn't make a difference to me. I have a job to do and I do it as good as I can. Our offense had a good balance of run and pass so I feel like I can do both pretty good."

GC: Matt, I know you have had contact with a lot of the big names in college football but who are the ones you really like at this point?

MH: "Right now the top ones are FSU, Oklahoma, Florida and Ole Miss."

GC: Two of your favorites have recently hired new head coaches. How does a coaching change factor into your decision making when it comes to where you'll be spending potentially the next 4-5 years?

MH: "Oh, man it makes a huge difference. It changes the whole perspective of things. You get to know a coach and then all of a sudden he's not there anymore and it takes time to find out what the new coach is all about."

GC: Matt, what coaches have you spoken to from Florida?

MH: "I've talked a lot to Coach Strong and Coach Locksley. They've both been pretty good and seem real interested in me. Coach Strong was at my school yesterday and talked to me and some of my team mates."

GC: So, out of the four schools you rate at the top which one do you feel the most comfortable with?

MH: "Oklahoma."

GC: Does that mean Oklahoma is your number one right now?

MH: "Yes, sir. They are right up there. FSU has recruited me the most so I like them a lot, too."

GC: What visits do you have set up?

MH: "I'm going to FSU tomorrow (1/7) and then I'll be going to Oklahoma right after the Army All-Star game in San Antonio next week. After that I visit Florida (1/21) and then Ole Miss (1/28).

My impression is that it is going to come down to an FSU/Oklahoma battle. Although FSU probably still holds a slight edge it seems apparent that OU is gaining ground and is clearly in the hunt for Matt's services. It looks like Florida and Ole Miss are decided underdogs.

The big offensive lineman listed the following criteria for choosing a school: The quality of the education at the university, the stability of the coaching staff and the level of support they provide beyond the football field, the overall environment at the school and the surrounding community and last, but certainly not least, the opportunity for early playing time.

Matt has some work to do on his ACT test score and is scheduled to take the test again later in January. He said he is going to wait until National Signing Day to announce his decision. Gator Country will bring you a follow up next week after Matt's official visit to FSU.

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